Sunday, 22 July 2018

5.5 Million Reasons Why

With the arbitration decision in the books, the Winnipeg Jets now have 48 hours to either accept or reject the arbitrator's decision of defenceman Jacob Trouba being worth $5.5 million for next season. I can assure you there are 5.5 million reasons why the Winnipeg Jets will re-sign the rearguard, but there needs to be a rational conversation about why the Jets and Trouba were some $3 million apart that led to them going to arbitration. This isn't a case of the team not wanting to pay a top-flight defenceman what he's worth, but rather it's a case of finding out what a top-flight defenceman of Jacob Trouba's abilities are worth from an independent party who will only look at the objective evidence presented at the arbitration meeting.

The Jets aren't saying that Trouba won't be a $7 million-per-season defenceman. On the contrary, I'm sure they'd be willing to pay that amount if Trouba and his agent, Kurt Overhardt, were able to present a convincing argument for the value they were seeking. The Jets, for their part, came in with an Olli Maatta-like number after Maatta and Trouba had been compared as equals during the last contract negotiation between the team and player. Some may say that the Jets low-balled Trouba with their $4 million valuation, but that's precisely how a negotiation works - the buyer starts low, the seller starts high, and the two sides meet in the middle. The arbitrator did exactly that with his $5.5 million ruling.

Everything that was said between the team and player will now carry forward as the Jets look to sign Trouba to a long-term deal to avoid going to arbitration next summer again. For Trouba's camp, there is all sorts of pressure on Trouba to perhaps hold off on signing anything and let the season play out. There's a risk that Trouba may have a year where he regresses, but there's a also a good chance his stock rises on a team that has sorts of upside, and that will mean a bigger pay day next summer for the blueliner.

Trouba, for what it's worth, is no Karlsson or Doughty, so the idea of him pushing for double-digits in salary seems ludicrous. However, that $7 million price tag could be attainable of Trouba has another year where he proves he cat eat big minutes, shut down some of the best stars on the planet, and continue to produce stats while playing five-on-five like he did this season. Trouba was an important cog in the Jets' successes this season, so the team would be crazy to not sign him as soon as possible to a long-term deal. As stated above, though, it would be beneficial to Trouba is he has another season like he did, and this is why the Jets should have tried to ink him long before the two parties got to this stage. Hindsight is always 20/20, though, so we can only look to smarter decisions in the future.

As it stands right now, the Jets have 48 hours to put a contract in front of him worth $5.5 million for next season. If they fail to do so or opt not to, Trouba becomes a free agent and is free to sign where ever he chooses. I'm guessing that if that happened, he wouldn't be signing in Winnipeg despite his wanting to stay after last season. There are exactly 5.5 million reasons why that contract should already be in the process of getting into Trouba's hands. Otherwise, the Jets will have a monstrous hole on the right side of their defence that #8 once patrolled.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

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