Jacob Trouba’s time in Winnipeg has come to an end.
The 25-year-old blueliner has been traded by the Jets to the New York Rangers in exchange for Neal Pionk and a first-round pick (No. 20) in the 2019 NHL Draft.
Trouba had a fantastic season last year, leading all Jets defensemen with a career-high 50 points (eight goals, 42 assists). 18 of those points came with the man advantage. Trouba averaged 22:53 of ice time per game in 2018-19, including 2:04 on the power play and 2:28 on the penalty kill.
The Rangers are getting a physical all-around defenseman in the prime of his career who is lethal at both ends of the ice. The Rochester native is currently listed at 6′ 3″ and 203 lbs.
This is a hockey fight. Jacob Trouba vs. Sam Bennett. pic.twitter.com/PiRZQDoKJV
— Brady Trettenero (@BradyTrett) March 12, 2017
Rangers GM Jeff Gorton talked to the official New York Rangers website about his excitement in landing Trouba.
“He’s in the prime of his career. The opportunity for a player like that to become available doesn’t happen all the time, and we jumped on it, had conversations that led to this and here we are.”
Trouba is a right-shot defenseman who can be depended on in all situations. He also ranked sixth among all skaters with 171 blocked shots last season.
“We’re getting a really good player that we’ve coveted for a while,” Gorton said. “Obviously he’s a player that we would covet – I think most teams would, with what he can do and provide for you, which is a lot: He’s a big defenseman, he’s 25 years old, he can play against the best players, he adds offense, he can kill penalties, and he’s in the prime of his career.
“The opportunity for a player like that to come available doesn’t happen all the time. We jumped on it.”
One interesting tidbit that came out from the trade is a big reason why Trouba didn’t want to sign a long-term contract in Winnipeg.
Trouba revealed to the Winnipeg Sun that his fiancee’s aspirations to become a doctor played a role in his desire to play in the United States.
“Everyone kinds of views me and I guess most athletes just as athletes, but there’s other goals in life that I have,” he said. “I want to be a husband and a father and all that stuff, and her career is important and she’s worked extremely hard. I want to see the best for her as much as she wants to see the best for me.”
In return for Trouba, the Jets get promising 23-year-old defenseman Nial Pionk. Pionk signed with the Rangers as an undrafted UFA from the University of Minnesota Duluth in May of 2017. While he doesn’t have the gritty two-way presence that Trouba brings, Pionk has some great offensive skills that led him to 40 points (seven goals, 33 assists) in 101 games with the Rangers over two seasons.
Neal Pionk goes coast-to-coast for the go-ahead goal against Montreal pic.twitter.com/NlE9l3RJuv
— Brady Trettenero (@BradyTrett) November 7, 2018
Pionk is also expected to help replace Trouba’s production on the power play. The 23-year-old led the Rangers with 13 power-play points (two goals, 11 assists) in 73 games this season.
Now that the Jets have moved on from Trouba, expect them to shift their focus to locking up top RFA forwards Patrik Laine and Kyle Connor.