Lay off Jacob Trouba

The Rangers' captain has drawn the ire of fans for not wanting to be traded from the team. Who knew that wanting what's what's objectively best for your family would be so controversial?
Rangers' Captain Jacob Trouba
Rangers' Captain Jacob Trouba / Sarah Stier/GettyImages

Jacob Trouba has been in the crosshairs of Rangers’ fans for the past few seasons. His below-average play and oversized contract ($8M AAV) are two things that do not mix well together. In the vacuum of constructing a hockey team it’s understandable why many fans feel Chris Drury should try to move on from Trouba. However, this latest round of criticism surrounding his modified no-trade clause (M-NTC) is unwarranted.

I, like everyone else here, would give just about anything to see the Rangers win a Cup and believe that they need to offload Trouba’s contract if they are going to do so. He has not played up to his cap hit for a few seasons now and has actively hurt the team at times with bad turnovers and ill-timed penalties. Given his cap hit and M-NTC that was never going to be easy. That does not mean that he deserves the level vitriol that has plagued my Twitter timeline over the past two weeks. At this point, most Rangers fans have read Larry Brooks’ article on Trouba’s M-NTC and his report on the potential trade with the Red Wings. While the exact details of the trade are not known, it seems that at the very least the Rangers would have gotten some salary cap relief and thus Drury some additional flexibility to make more than one free agent signing.

Jacob Trouba, Barclay Goodrow
Trouba celebrating his SHG in Game Five of the Rangers' second series vs. Carolina / Bruce Bennett/GettyImages

Again, this is not Trouba’s fault. We as fans were misled. The original report from Brooks was that Trouba was all but gone from the team. This got our hopes up, inducing dreams of cap space and marquee free agents. But, as Brooks noted in his article, there was no indication that Trouba blocked the trade. It seems like Drury and Brooks both jumped the gun a bit and made assumptions before they knew what teams were on Trouba's no-trade list. The other piece that got people riled up was this sentence from Brooks: “There is no guarantee that Jacob Trouba would accept a trade even to a club on his approved list if that means leaving his wife and nine-month-old (as of training camp) behind.” To me, this is nothing more than speculative. If there were more teeth to this rumor it would have garnered more than a one sentence.

For this supposed transgression I have seen multiple calls to boo Trouba during the team’s home opener and countless disparaging remarks made about his wife. Both of these reactions are obtuse. I could maybe understand this attitude if Trouba was a bad guy or a lazy player but he’s not. For five years he has left everything out on the ice. Since coming to Broadway, he has led the Rangers in blocked shots four times and been first or second in hits every season (stats courtesy of MoneyPuck). He plays through injuries (not always the smartest thing) and is beloved by his teammates.

Jacob Trouba
Trouba at Annual Charity Day Hosted by BGC Group and The Cantor Fitzgerald Relief Fund / Noam Galai/GettyImages

Off the ice, Trouba is a model citizen. He and his wife, Dr. Kelly Tyson-Trouba, have raised tens of thousands of dollars for charity and he is always a large presence at Garden of Dreams events. This year he earned the Mark Messier NHL Leadership Award, which is given to “the player who exemplifies great leadership qualities to his team, on and off the ice, and who plays a leading role in his community growing the game of hockey.”

To me, it is really sad that a fanbase that knows all of this would treat a player so poorly. Booing Trouba is not going to help anything and will hang a cloud over the season. The comments about his wife are no different and may be even more asinine. She has a newborn child and a medical residency that you cannot just transfer to another city. Gee, no wonder he does not want to get traded. So bottom line, I hope everyone can just grow up a bit. You can criticize his on-ice play all you want and wish that he was traded, but taking personal jabs at him and his family is a bridge too far. Jacob Trouba is most likely going to be the New York Rangers’ captain come opening night. He is a solid player, a good leader, and a good person. I can get behind that and I hope the MSG faithful can too.