The Winnipeg Jets' contract stalemate with defenseman and restricted free agent Jacob Trouba looks like it may end with the player leaving town altogether.
In a statement sent to select media, Trouba's agent, Kurt Overhardt said the following (via Sportsnet):
"Our client, Jacob Trouba, will not be attending the Winnipeg Jets NHL training camp. Since May, we have been working with the Jets management in an effort to facilitate a trade of Jacob's rights. Both parties continue to work on this matter.
There has been no negotiation regarding the terms of a contract between our client and the Jets over the course of the last several months. The situation is not about money; it is solely about our client having the opportunity to realize his potential as a right shot NHL defenseman.
To the Jets credit, the club has two outstanding right shot veteran defensemen and our client simply wants the opportunity to have a greater role. As a consequence of the Jets depth on the right side, we believe it is in both parties' best interest to facilitate a mutually advantageous trade.
Our client has nothing but respect for the people and City of Winnipeg, the Winnipeg Jets, its fans, management and ownership - our desire to get him moved has everything to do with opportunity. We will continue to work with the Jets in good faith to achieve this end."
This doesn't look like your run of the mill trade requests, where the player is looking for leverage in a contract negotiations. It doesn't look like there is any common ground to reach since the request for a trade was made all the way back in May. This is a player that wants out and soon.
One of the key things to remember about Trouba is that he still needs a new contract. Any team that has interest would also have to have or make available cap space for a decent-sized extension.
The Jets released a statement later in the night, expressing that they still view Trouba as part of their long term plans.
"Any decisions regarding Jacob Trouba will be made in the best interest of the Winnipeg Jets Hockey Club," GM Kevin Cheveldayoff said in a statement.
"As an unsigned player, we cannot compel Jacob to report to training camp at this time. However, we will continue to work diligently to resolve this matter."
The Jets can slow-play this, too. It worked out for the Tampa Bay Lightning who ran into a similar situation with Jonathan Drouin last season. They don't have to do anything until they're ready. Trouba may have to sit out a long while as the Jets either sort out a new contract or send him somewhere else. It's a tough position to be in.
Trouba's main desire is to be in the regular rotation as a top-four defenseman. He's not going to be able to do that as easily without playing the left side in Winnipeg with Dustin Byfuglien and Tyler Myers ahead of him on the right-shot depth chart.
This request might have less to do with his position on the Jets than it does the number of teams that have a significant need for right-shot defensemen. There are options out there. He could be a No. 1 on the right side for some teams within a season or two.
This is not the kind of public battle the Jets were probably hoping for just as their camp opens. The timing was kind of unavoidable though. Trouba was playing in the World Cup of Hockey as a member of Team North America. He was not expected to engage in negotiations while at the World Cup and now that he's returned, this happens.
The 22-year-old comes in at 6-foot-3, 202 pounds and has 72 points in 211 NHL games. He was the Jets' first pick, ninth overall in the 2012 NHL Entry Draft. He plays a physical brand of hockey, but has shown flashes of more offensive potential than his numbers would suggest.
There are plenty of teams out there that could use some blue line help. Finding out what it will take to get Trouba out of Winnipeg should be on any GM's to-do list for this week, the one's with cap space at least.
Here is a look at five potential trade destinations that would make sense, if the Jets feel the need to pull the trigger:
1. Boston Bruins: In desperate need of upgrading their blue line, there was a report earlier in the summer that the Bruins were thinking about extending an offer sheet to Trouba. It never materialized. The question for this potential trade match is what the Bruins have to offer. If they can make a deal work, Trouba might actually step into their lineup as the team's top right-shot defenseman.
2. Arizona Coyotes: The Coyotes have been buyers this summer and Trouba would fit right in with what they're building in the desert. Arizona has an abundance of right-shot defensemen, but none are as good as Trouba at this point. He would fit into their top four and they could play around with their cap space a little bit to also pay Trouba what he's worth. They have an abundance of prospects and a few NHL veterans that could make sense for Winnipeg.
3. Edmonton Oilers: After trading away Taylor Hall to acquire Adam Larsson, one wonders if the Oilers even knew that Trouba's camp was seeking a trade out of Winnipeg. Trouba is already more accomplished with fewer NHL games under his belt. He'd also go a long way to helping Edmonton's defense even more. But if Taylor Hall was the price for Larsson, what would Winnipeg expect in return? After picking him for Team North America at the World Cup, Peter Chiarelli knows plenty about Trouba's value.
4. New Jersey Devils: After trading away Adam Larsson, the team suddenly has a need for a right-shot defenseman. They don't have a lot of options in terms of pieces to entice the Jets without hurting themselves in other areas. Trouba would be a good fit organizationally and they have plenty of cap space, but it comes down to what they'd have to cough up to replenish their defense.
5. Detroit Red Wings: The Red Wings only have two right-shot defensemen on their NHL roster right now and defense has been a trouble spot for them. The Rochester, Mich., native would probably be a nice fit and the Wings have some options available to them to make a trade. To get Trouba, however, they'd have to shed a good amount of salary in the deal so they can sign him. Ken Holland has had a busy summer already, but adding Trouba would allow them to upgrade in a position of need.