There are many players that spark debate in the hockey world. Tom Wilson of the Washington Capitals and Mitchell Marner of the Toronto Maple Leafs are two examples, but no one quite divides fans like Jacob Trouba, With his hits, his contract, and his captaincy, there is a lot that is debated about this player, and there are many reasons for it. It should be mentioned, we’ve seen how good a person Trouba is off the ice, and this is purely about the hockey.
Let’s start with the elephant on the CapFriendly page. He makes $8 million a year against the cap with a full no-movement clause. That is a lot of money for a man that had just 8 goals and 22 assists for 30 points this season. There are reasons to want a player like this. He’s the captain and he’s shown the ability to lead this team well when things get difficult. But $8 million a year is forcing the team to cut down on depth.
Next summer, Trouba’s no-movement clause becomes a modified no-trade clause. Trouba will get 15 teams to protect himself from and that will drop to 12 the following year. It’s so important that the Rangers figure out a way to move this deal because that cap space is going to determine whether or not they can continue to compete with this core of players or if they need to start trying to find new homes for roster pieces.
Right now, this is a roster that is first-round elimination fodder. They’re too good to miss the playoffs but not good enough to make any noise once they arrive in the postseason. That can change but even after the Rangers loaded up at the last deadline, they were sitting at home after just 7 postseason games. It’s not good enough and not having to jump through hurdles to improve the team could go a long way.
This isn’t a statement about Trouba. He’s a big-hitting defenseman, he’s a solid captain and leader, and he is the kind of player this organization loves to have around. All of that is true. There is a place for Trouba on this team. But that contract is just so abysmal and it forces the Rangers to lose key pieces that they would otherwise love to bring back. Ideally, Trouba would be on this roster making maybe 2-3 million. That’s a lot better for what he brings.
The last time I talked about Trouba, a lot of people disliked the fact that I was so insistent on moving a player that lays the big hits, can lead a team, and brings what he does off the ice, and I do understand that. But at some point, you have to understand that what he does in those regards is not worth $8 million a year. He makes $1.5 million less than Adam Fox, a Norris Trophy winner, to put that into perspective.