True Value

The Winnipeg Jets’ defenceman Jacob Trouba is up for a big pay day. The 22 year-old prime commodity of a right-handed shot has been a solid piece for the Jets as they look to contend in the future. Winnipeg made a number of moves to make cap space for their future. Dustin Byfuglien was signed to a five-year, $7.6M contract, and Andrew Ladd was shipped off to Chicago after his request of a $6.8-million yearly extension was not met. The Jets need to lock up Mark Sheifele, Jacob Trouba, Nikolaj Ehlers, and a number of their youngsters who will significant players of their core.

In December of 2015, the reported contract request of Jacob Trouba’s camp (along with Ladd and Byfuglien) was released to the public. Trouba is seeking a seven million dollar contract extension over eight years. Should the Jets lock him up long term or go for a short-term, bridge deal?

As noted in analyzing how the Leafs should tackle Morgan Rielly’s contract, here’s how teams should observe bridge contracts:

“Historically, bridge contracts have worked out for players who gain significant dollar amounts, and not so much for teams. James Neal went from a two-year, $2.875M AAV contract to a six-year contract worth an annual average value of $5M. The Montreal Canadiens have faced a burden with PK Subban’s eight-year, $9M contract after a two-year, $2.875 AAV bridge-deal. Subban is a great defenceman, but his large cap hit can restrict the Habs financially going into the future.”

Jacob Trouba can be compared to Carolina’s Justin Faulk and Dallas’ John Klingberg. Klingberg scored 40 points in only 65 games before signing a seven-year, $4.25-million extension. Faulk scored 32 points before signing a six-year, $4.83-million contract.

Most recently, the Toronto Maple Leafs locked up Morgan Rielly for six years in which he will be paid five million dollars per season. The contract put the Leafs ahead of a number of teams, setting the salary window for restricted free agents such as Seth Jones of the Columbus Blue Jackets and Jacob Trouba of the Winnipeg Jets. Rielly’s latest contract potentially lowers the pay that the two will receive.

Morgan Rielly has shown to be a top defenceman with elite upside who can play a great two-way game. Jacob Trouba has scored only 21 points compared to Rielly’s 2015-16 output of 36. On a good team that challenged in the 2015 playoffs, Trouba was a defensive force with his physicality and offensively with 22 points in only 65 games. Trouba is young, and needs to show that he can be a consistent, offensive force that Klingberg and Faulk have been.

Because of his lack of production in the 2015-16 season, Jacob Trouba won’t likely receive the seven million dollar contract he wants. Not only might Trouba’s offensive production mean a drop in salary, Morgan Rielly’s lowball of a seven-year contract holding a five million dollar cap hit will drop his yearly value as well.

Jacob Trouba deserves a contract worth less than Morgan Rielly’s extension. The Jets could go reasonable following Tyler Myers or incredibly risky with Dustin Byfuglien.

Trouba deserves a seven-year contract worth $4.8M per year.

What do you think Trouba deserves?

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