Your New York Rangers captain has struggled to truly find his game since he was awarded the captaincy during the summer, but Jacob Trouba‘s on-ice issues are starting to become a little much to control. He’s starting to cost the Rangers too much and for everything Trouba does as a physical, hard-hitting player, the money the Rangers spend on this player could be put to much better use than Trouba right now.
To put this into perspective, the New York Rangers have used 8 defensemen this year and have used 6 different defense pairings that have played at least 75 minutes. Trouba has spent all of that with K’Andre Miller. That pairing is 5th in Expected Goals Percentage (xG%), That pairing is the worst the Rangers have in Expected Goals Against (xGA). Both of these according to Moneypuck if you want to check this for yourself.
But it’s not just by Rangers standards that this pairing has been bad defensively. 11 pairings have played 500 minutes or more across the NHL this year. Of those 11 pairs, Miller – Trouba ranks 8th in xGA. They are 10th in xG%. It’s clear that these two struggle. But perhaps you are more akin to traditional stats and basic numbers, which is a fair argument. This is not an organization that is particularly analytically driven.
Trouba’s base stats back this up. He’s got 3 goals and 11 assists for 14 points so far this season, yet the Ranger captain is a -5 on the season. He’s enduring a tough time and it’s starting to confirm that the Rangers captain cannot outscore his defensive shortcomings. This is including the fact that K’Andre Miller is having the best season in his young career but Trouba still cannot keep his head above the waves.
This wouldn’t be an issue if Trouba was making league minimum or on his entry-level contract. That way, you can justify moving him around, burying him, or even trying to find a trade partner to take him as the Rangers did with Patrik Nemeth in the summer. Except Trouba doesn’t make $2 million. He makes $8 million until the end of the 2025-26 season. Companying that is a No-Movement Clause this year and next, and a Modified no-trade clause the final 2 years.
With a ton of key pieces coming up for renewal this summer, it is time to find a way out of this anchor. That much money for three seasons after that one is a lot to pay for a defenseman that is not helping the Rangers’ on-ice product. There’s unlikely to be someone willing to take that cap hit, and buying him out will only re-establish the dead cap that the Rangers are going to get to clear up at the end of this season