Winnipeg Jets defenseman Jacob Trouba finally re-joined the team on Tuesday following a long holdout that stretched from the offseason all the way into the first month of the 2016-2017 NHL season.
That holdout was ended on Monday when the 22-year-old restricted free agent inked a new two-year deal with the club worth $6 million. If you’re thinking that’s an incredible steal for one of the most promising young blue liners in the game today, you would be absolutely correct.
And while some speculated that Trouba put pen to paper just to get back on the ice and work his way towards facilitating an exit from Winnipeg, those claims were put to rest by Trouba himself on Tuesday.
“I’ve committed to sign here,” Trouba said, per the Winnipeg Sun. “When I signed that piece of paper, everything changed in my mind.”
Trouba had previously requested a trade out of Winnipeg in May — saying it wasn’t about money, but more that he was looking for a fresh start with a new team that will allow him to play on the right side. (He had been playing on the left with the Jets, a team with depth on the right side.)
The Jets played hardball with their young defenseman, saying that they still hoped to re-sign him and wouldn’t deal him unless they were offered an equally talented replacement in a returning package. Whether it was impatience or the looming RFA deadline — if a new deal wasn’t reached by Dec. 1, Trouba would have had to sit out the entire season — the hardball approach worked.
For now, at least.
As Pro Hockey Talk’s Mike Halford points out, despite Trouba’s claims that he’s suddenly back on board with being a team player at a very affordable rate, a similar situation ended with Kyle Turris being shipped from Phoenix to Ottawa five years ago.
After ending his RFA holdout with a two-year bridge deal, Turris played just six games for the Coyotes before being traded to the Senators. Turris and Trouba share the same agent, so you’re free to draw your own conclusions.