Are the New York Rangers a better team without captain Jacob Trouba?

Feb 24, 2024; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; New York Rangers defenseman Jacob Trouba (8) looks on
Feb 24, 2024; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; New York Rangers defenseman Jacob Trouba (8) looks on / Kyle Ross-USA TODAY Sports

In the absence of captain Jacob Trouba, the New York Rangers have turned in two of their best defensive performances. Against the New Jersey Devils and Carolina Hurricanes, the Rangers started to flex their muscles of dominant defense. Peter Laviolette's started to rally his men to play a much more structured defensive style in the absence of the big man. It's started to spark a debate across the fanbase: are the Rangers better without Trouba on the ice?

I've been a critic of Trouba for a while, but more for his contract than his play style. There's no excuse for Trouba to make $8 million a year for 30 points from the blueline. Dumping that contract somewhere when his no-movement clause becomes a modified no-trade clause in the summer would benefit the Rangers massively in their efforts to re-sign other players, but would it make the roster better via subtraction?


At 5-on-5, Jacob Trouba has a 47.52 xGF%. That's the second worst of the seven defensemen that have played 20 games or more. For reference, having a xGF% of around 50 is average. So, this indicated Trouba is a liability. With a 2.44 xGF/60 or expected goals for per sixty (third worst among the 7 main defensemen) and a 2.69 xGA/60 or expected goals against (fourth worst), there's evidence to support the idea Trouba isn't worth having around. All stats are from

Without Trouba, New York don't seem to have the same issues either. Everything looks cleaner, and I get that while the captain will come up with big hits and fights in an attempt to change the momentum of a game, but the actual player here is not up to the standard the New York Rangers demand it seems. Or is this just a fallacy being pushed by people who don't want to see Trouba in a Rangers jersey?