It wouldn’t be the first time a talented hockey player went from Winnipeg to Phoenix.
On Saturday, the hockey world learned that Jets RFA defenseman Jacob Trouba wants out of Manitoba. The Arizona Coyotes should do their part to oblige him.
Meet Jacob Trouba
Trouba split time between the top and second pairing for the Winnipeg Jets last season. He is particularly adept at creating goals and shots, when compared to the rest of the league.
Trouba is a mobile defenseman who can move the puck around the ice, which is exactly the kind of defenseman John Chayka likes. And at 22 years old, Trouba has plenty of room to improve.
Winnipeg would not let Trouba go without a hefty return, if they let him go at all. The Jets would almost certainly need an NHL ready replacement, plus additional picks/prospects to make a deal happen.
Make an Offer
Arizona has a few defensemen that they could offer Winnipeg’s way to offset to the loss of Trouba. Two possibilities are righties Connor Murphy and Michael Stone.
It would not make sense for the Coyotes to offer Murphy. Murphy is only one year older than Trouba, about 20 pounds bigger, and produced similar points last season to Trouba (6G, 11A for Murphy vs. 6G, 15A for Trouba). Additionally, Murphy is cost-controlled at $3.85 million per year for the next six years. So Murphy should be a non-starter for the Coyotes.
On the other hand, the Coyotes struggled mightily to come to terms with Michael Stone this summer, before eventually settling on a one-year, $4 million contract prior to salary arbitration.
With six goals and thirty assists, the Coyotes would be giving up a fair amount of offense. But Alex Goligoski is expected to shoulder some of the load on the power play, and Trouba would offer a little more balance for Arizona’s middle pairing.
And by the way, Michael Stone is from Winnipeg. If the Jets were looking for somebody reasonably likely to stay in Manitoba long-term, Stone might very well be the guy.
Besides a defenseman swap, Arizona would likely need to sweeten the pot with a prospect or two. This is a little bit tougher for the Coyotes, because their prospect system in many ways mirrors Winnipeg’s.
But there are a few options that might interest the Jets. Kyle Wood is another large defenseman with offensive upside. He is likely close to NHL ready, so he could provide the Jets with an offensive boost from the back-end relatively soon. And after this year’s draft, the Coyotes have plenty of talented puck movers as well, including Dysin Mayo, Cam Dineen, and Dean Stewart.
The Coyotes could also throw in one or more of their talented forward prospects. Arizona really likes Christian Fischer on the right side, which might make Nick Merkley an option. Perhaps a total reset would benefit Brendan Perlini as well, who could play on the left or down the middle as the Jets need.
And of course, the Coyotes could simply offer the Jets a draft choice or two. Arizona has a first, second, and Detroit’s third rounder in the 2017 Draft. While the Coyotes might be loathe to relinquish their first, they might be able to swap picks with the Jets in the second or third round.
Any trade for Jacob Trouba is going to be expensive; he’s a cost-controlled right-handed defenseman who is still very young and will get better. Winnipeg has every right to shoot for the moon if they are going to trade him.
But just because it might be expensive doesn’t mean the Coyotes shouldn’t try. The Coyotes need another piece on their right side. Adding Trouba might very well be the move that takes the Coyotes from an up-and-comer to a legitimate playoff threat this season, next season, and into the future.