When we talk about the captain of your New York Rangers, it is no secret that people want to see him lay huge hits, get into fights, and lead the team more than they expect production from the hulking defenseman. However, it has been a strong season for Jacob Trouba. He’s still got those defensive warts but he has seen another good season for the New York Ranger captain on the backend.
Trouba tallied 8 goals and 22 assists for 30 points. These are not the 50 points he had in Winnipeg or even the 39 he had last season, but it has been a modest improvement. Trouba as a player has issues but he’s NHL quality. The issue lies in having to pay him $9 million a year against the cap. That is where this roster starts to get kind of hamstrung, but that is not the point of this. This is to focus on a good season.
If you want to talk about a good season, Trouba may have single-handedly turned this Rangers campaign around. With one hit, he seemingly sent the Rangers on their way to the postseason and banished the Penguins to the doldrums of irrelevancy for the first time in the salary cap era. As an emotional leader, this group responds to Trouba and he knows how to get them ready to go which is a strong mix.
In the playoffs last year, we saw Trouba lay massive hits on the likes of Crosby and Guentzel in round one, but he also had some beautiful open-ice hits against the likes of Seth Jarvis and Max Domi in the second round. Those physical plays were what he is going to need to do if the Rangers are going to go deep. He’s got issues defensively, so the best cure is to make the attacker into a human pancake. Take the 1960s approach.