Many Winnipeg Jets fans expected the worst when it came down to the arbitration process with defenseman Jacob Trouba. The blue liner and the Canadian team however agreed during the hearing, and Trouba was awarded a one-year, $5.5-million contract via arbitration.
However, a bad rumour report has come out of the signing, which fuelled speculation the Jets might trade him rather than face another difficult contract negotiation with him next summer.
According to Mike McIntyre of the Winnipeg Free Press, Trouba isn’t ruling out signing a long-term contract with the Jets. The blue liner added that it did not bother him to go through the arbitration process, believing it is part of the deal in being a hockey player. His camp reportedly sought $7 million from an arbiter while the Jets countered with $4 million.
"It is what it is. I'm fine with it. I don't know, it's part of the process," he said. "You have some idea with what other people tell you, and you're kind of prepared, but you don't really know until you go through it. But it was pretty much how I expected it to go, I guess."
Both parties could potentially agree to a long-term extension, however, it is believed that Trouba would only stay in Winnipeg if he is awarded the money is he looking to be paid. He could leap at the opportunity to sign a seven- or eight-year contract worth $7 million annually. However, Jets general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff might be reluctant to invest too much for too long in a defenseman who’s been hampered by injuries for most of his career.
Therefore, McIntyre believes the Jets might secretly be working on a plan to trade Trouba. McIntyre suggests a trade is still possible though he doesn’t see Trouba being dealt during the coming season. The earliest the Jets can open contract discussions with the blueliner is Jan. 1. A move could be in the works later on in the 2018-19 campaign.
"Trouba will again be a restricted free agent next summer. However, the Jets would control his services for only one more season before he becomes an unrestricted free agent in the summer of 2020. That means a potential trade could be on the horizon if he isn't locked up long-term, as the Jets won't want to risk losing him for nothing," writes McIntyre.
It remains to be seen what the upcoming season looks like for the Jets. It will surely decide if Trouba is the odd man out this time around...