According to multiple sources Saturday, Jacob Trouba, the highly-touted young defenceman for the Winnipeg Jets, has requested a trade. Following the trend of trade requests, the blue-liner suggests that his reasoning is not due to the team, or the city, or the money, but more-so the fact that the Jets’ right-handed defence core is too full, leaving Trouba with little opportunity to play. Well Jacob, there is another up and coming team in desperate need of a strong, young, right handed blue-liner, and the Toronto Maple Leafs might as well already be calling Kevin Cheveldayoff. But does Trouba to Toronto really seem like a right fit?
The Possibility of A Jacob Trouba Trade to the Leafs
Toronto’s Defense Core
Taking a look at Toronto’s defence unit, it’s clear to see their abundance of left-handed defencemen.
It’s apparent that the Leafs two best defenceman, Rielly and Gardiner, are both left handed. Looking on the right side, Corrado and Carrick are both players that may be regularly switching between the NHL and the AHL through the season, and Polak will most likely be used as 2nd-rounder bait yet again. This simply leaves Zaitsev as the Leafs most likely full time right-handed defenceman.
There definitely is a clear need for a right-handed defenceman on the Leafs. One has just become available in the form of Trouba, a young gun who can perfectlly compliment the likes of Rielly or Gardiner. But would a trade between Toronto and Winnipeg really work out?
Wheeling and Dealing
Taking a look at Winnipeg’s needs and Toronto’s tradeable assets, there truly does not seem to be many options for a trade between these teams.
One evident player that the Jets may desire from Toronto is James Van Riemsdyk. The Jets could use some additional strength on their left wing side, and JVR could be a perfect choice. The problem here is that it does not seem like Toronto would like to get rid of JVR soon. He may be just outside of their preferred age range for a young gun team, being 27 years old, but he is still a strong power forward in his prime who brings a great deal to Toronto’s adapting left wing. A strong veteran can also be beneficial for the development of the Leafs young forward core.
Another proposal could include a Toronto defenseman, specifically a left-handed defenceman, which is a department the Jets evidently lack in. The Jets are likely looking to replace Trouba as sufficiently as possible in order to fulfill his requests, while acquiring a blue liner who can take over on the left side. When it comes to the Leafs, the Jets could take a look at either Rielly or Gardiner as plausible options. Toronto however would most likely not want to trade away their top blue-liner in Rielly, so this would leave Gardiner as their only option.
In order to acquire Trouba using Gardiner as an asset, the Leafs would probably have to bring more to the table to entice the Jets. A second or third round pick would likely suffice, but it is also possible to see the Leafs needing to throw in an expendable player, such as Corrado or Polak.
The Reality of it All
Even when looking at these trade possibilities, it’s very hard to tell if the Leafs would let go of any of these assets. Gardiner is still a very young and valuable defenceman that fits in well with the new Leafs core. Draft picks are also considered highly valuable to Lou Lamoriello and the Leafs management group.
Other than using those options, it seems unlikely that the Leafs would be able to provide a viable trade offer that would truly suffice the Jets to pry one of their most desired assets away from them.
The 22-year old still has several years as a restricted free agent left, which gives Cheveldayoff lots of wiggle room when negotiating with him and other teams. The Jets are most likely looking for much more than a rebuilding team like Toronto would be willing to pay. However, knowing Lou, he could have something interesting up his sleeve.