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NHL Trade Rumors: Jacob Trouba wants out of Winnipeg

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Talented young defenseman Jacob Trouba wants out of Winnipeg. Can the Pittsburgh Penguins make a play on him? (Probably not but it's fun to think about it)

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Restricted free agent Jacob Trouba doesn't want to go back to the Winnipeg Jets. From Sportsnet:

"Our client, Jacob Trouba, will not be attending the Winnipeg Jets NHL training camp. Since May, we have been working with the Jets management in an effort to facilitate a trade of Jacob’s rights. Both parties continue to work on this matter.

There has been no negotiation regarding the terms of a contract between our client and the Jets over the course of the last several months. The situation is not about money; it is solely about our client having the opportunity to realize his potential as a right shot NHL defenseman.To the Jets credit, the club has two outstanding right shot veteran defensemen and our client simply wants the opportunity to have a greater role. As a consequence of the Jets depth on the right side, we believe it is in both parties’ best interest to facilitate a mutually advantageous trade.

Our client has nothing but respect for the people and City of Winnipeg, the Winnipeg Jets, its fans, management and ownership - our desire to get him moved has everything to do with opportunity. We will continue to work with the Jets in good faith to achieve this end."

Trouba was the #9 overall pick in the 2012 draft, which is notable since Derrick Pouliot was the #8 pick that very same year.

However, if the Penguins had any chance of getting Trouba, it almost certainly wouldn't be a trade with Pouliot as the main chip to get him. The most natural and fitting piece value-wise would be the other 1st round pick from 2012.

Olli Maatta was taken #22 that year, and his cap hit is just north of $4 million from here forward. (Which, despite what Trouba says that it isn't about the money, it's still going to take some money to sign him). Maatta had a generally rocky 2015-16 season, hampered by all sorts of injuries and medical conditions in the year prior, including shoulder surgery, thyroid cancer and  soft tissue injury from getting slammed into the boards.

With only 2 RH shots in the projected NHL lineup (Kris Letang on the 1st pair and Justin Schultz on the 3rd), lineup-wise Pittsburgh has a perfect place for Trouba to fit in on his preferred right-side on the second pair. With the emergence of Brian Dumoulin and also Trevor Daley (plus Pouliot and Ian Cole) as left-handed, left-side options, the Pens actually could, theoretically, afford to move on without Maatta, in a hypothetical trade that brought in a top-4 RH option.

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On the other hand though, the Penguins just won the Stanley Cup. Making a major trade, which a deal involving something like Maatta for Trouba definitely fits the bill, is really unnecessary for Pittsburgh. And, as skilled as Trouba is, let's not forget he scored 21 points (6g+15a) in 81 games last season, Maatta even dealing with all his maladies still scored 22 points (6g+16a) in 67 games. No real need for Pittsburgh to make a bold move, especially with the hope that Maatta can settle in, stay healthy, and continue to be a solid top-4 guy.

And as mentioned above, even though Trouba's camp is saying money isn't a main factor in his trade request, in professional sports money is always some sort of factor. There's no guarantee what it would take to sign Trouba for this season- let alone the extended future. It is known that Maatta is locked in for his $4.083 million per season for the next six seasons, making the cost certainty a plus for the Pens right now.

All in all, while it seems enticing to diversify talent and potentially make the team better to swap a LH for an RH, a trade based upon the principles of Maatta-for-Trouba seems to have more risk than reward for Pittsburgh when they're defending Cup champs. And, realistically, if the Pens wanted to acquire a top talent like Trouba, it seems unlikely they can give anything less than Maatta. Some video game style trade like Pouliot + Eric Fehr + a 2nd round pick isn't going to catch the Jets attention.

We'll put it up for a poll to get the temperature of the room and feel free to expand in the comments. I really don't expect the Pens to be all that aggressive in looking into Trouba, but hey, young solid defensemen don't request trades everyday, but when they do it's fun to talk about it on the internet.