Jacob Trouba To Cost Multiple Prospects And Picks

Jan 10, 2016; Winnipeg, Manitoba, CAN; Winnipeg Jets defenseman Jacob Trouba (8) warms up prior to the game against the Buffalo Sabres at MTS Centre. Mandatory Credit: Bruce Fedyck-USA TODAY Sports
Jan 10, 2016; Winnipeg, Manitoba, CAN; Winnipeg Jets defenseman Jacob Trouba (8) warms up prior to the game against the Buffalo Sabres at MTS Centre. Mandatory Credit: Bruce Fedyck-USA TODAY Sports /

With the Winnipeg Jets possessing talent and depth throughout their roster, the Boston Bruins will have to provide a heavy package of prospects and picks in order to get Jacob Trouba.

Close your eyes. Take a deeeeeeeeep breath. In through the nose, out through the mouth. There you go. Open your eyes. If the Boston Bruins want Jacob Trouba, is going to cost a lot. A lot. Trade demand or not, Jacob Trouba will cost a lot.

When news broke Saturday of Jacob Trouba’s formal trade request from the Winnipeg Jets, greatest hopes and fears were realized. For a Boston front office that had been “waiting for something to shake loose,” it was a dream scenario. For a Winnipeg franchise that has been steadily improving it’s entire roster, it was a gut punch. Right-handed defensemen with elite potential don’t grow on trees, and Winnipeg has two (not to mention Tyler Myers). The ongoing Trouba saga has officially come to a head, and the Jets will likely be forced to move a Grade A asset. Though the cost of acquisition will marginally decline now that the cat is out of the bag, it will undoubtedly remain steep enough to make fans of the acquiring team wonder if they spent too much.

As I detailed in a previous article, the trouble with acquiring Trouba is that Winnipeg lacks glaring needs. They have established veterans and fantastic prospects throughout the organization. Were Winnipeg to have a true need it would be on the left side of their defense; an area in which the B’s are themselves lacking as far as “NHL ready” players are concerned. The Jets would have little to zero interest in Chara (not to mention his NMC). Torey Krug‘s inclusion in a trade opens one void to fill another. JM Liles could potentially be used as a part of a package, but hardly a valuable one. In order to facilitate a trade, Boston will need to dip into it’s pool of prospects on defense.

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With Jakub Zboril, Jeremy Lauzon, Rob O’Gara, Matt Grzelcyk, and Ryan Lindgren all in the pipeline, the Bruins are flush with LHD prospects. Still just 23 years old, Joe Morrow is developmentally ahead of the aforementioned Bruins, though that development has plateaued a bit. There is virtually no way the Bruins can swing a trade for Trouba without including at least one (if not two) of these players. The Bruins will not be negotiating in a vacuum with Winnipeg; it’s open-season on the Trouba front, and multiple teams around the league will be putting their best offer on the table to secure his services. It is IMPERATIVE that Don Sweeney make the most of this gift from the Hockey Gods and dip (cannonball) into his pool of prospects.

Zboril, like Trouba, carries a first round pedigree. After being selected with the 13th Overall Pick in the 2015 Draft, Zboril underwhelmed off the bat. He showed up to development camp slightly out of shape. Then his offensive numbers with Saint John’s of the QMJHL took a dip. Though that could be largely attributed to taking on more of a defensive role on his Junior team, it was hardly the direction the B’s envisioned him taking. The sturdy Czech defender has since rebounded nicely, playing well at both the Bruins’ Development Camp as well as at the Prospect’s Challenge two weeks ago. He plays a strong two-way game, skates and pushes the pace well, and has more than a touch of grit to his game.

Jeremy Lauzon was selected nearly 30 spots behind Zboril, but the two currently find themselves on equal ground. A tremendous skater with plus-rated offensive abilities, the Quebec native requires a dash of seasoning, likely back at the QMJHL level. Lauzon rushed back from a gruesome neck laceration to rejoin his team leading up to the Memorial Cup, showing a great deal of mental and physical toughness to go along with his considerable skill.

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O’Gara and Grzelcyk are both more “NHL ready” following their respective four year careers at the collegiate level. Though neither possess quite as high of a ceiling as Zboril or Lauzon, both project to be solid NHLers. O’Gara earned multiple individual awards at Yale, as well as a National Championship (the school’s first). He owns prototypical size and has shown improved mobility with and without the puck. Grzelcyk captained the BU Terriers in each of his last two seasons, anchoring the team’s top pairing alongside fellow Bruins prospect Charlie McAvoy. Grzelcyk has the potential to be Torey Krug 2.0, as a shifty and gifted offensive defenseman who’s a bit under the radar due to his diminutive size.

One of these four are headed to Winnipeg as part of any deal for Trouba, with the likely money on either Zboril or Lauzon. However, neither player by themselves would be nearly enough to facilitate a trade. A first round pick is a virtual automatic to be thrown in to the package. Though never ideal, parting with one first round pick after making five selections across the previous two first rounds is surmountable. An additional second or third round pick in a subsequent draft could also be necessary to distance the Bruins from the rest of the circling buzzards.

Winnipeg would likely ask for a placeholder as part of the deal as well. Perhaps they could be enticed to pick up Adam McQuaid to keep the seat warm, at least for a year or two. When not asked to play above his abilities, Adam McQuaid is a rock-solid, bottom pairing defenseman. Winnipeg will have a very young and skilled roster in years to come, and McQuaid’s toughness and experience could fit nicely on their bottom pairing, perhaps alongside talented youngster Josh Morrissey. McQuaid would likely be left exposed during the upcoming Expansion Draft, though his selection would be neither likely nor debilitating. He would be merely holding down a spot on the bottom pairing for the time being.

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It’s very likely that a trade package for Trouba would closely resemble the following:

  • Bruins’ 2017 1st Rd Pick
  • Bruins’ 2018 2nd/3rd Rd Pick
  • Jakub Zboril/Jeremy Lauzon
  • Adam McQuaid

Again, there’s little the Bruins can offer Winnipeg as far as forward or goaltending help is concerned. With Mark Scheifele, Bryan Little, Matthieu Perrault centering the Top 9, it would appear that neither David Krejci nor Ryan Spooner would be all that appealing. Connor Hellebuyck is the goalie of the future for the Jets, and could very well crack the NHL lineup this season, leaving the idea of a Malcolm Subban inclusion firmly on the bench. The B’s will be forced to rely on picks and prospects to make this work, and they’re going to have to ante up.

There is a possibility of a larger trade taking place here, however. It’s possible that a third team could get involved, or that Winnipeg could attempt to shed salary (Mark Stuart, Drew Stafford) as part of a Trouba deal. I won’t even begin to pontificate which teams would potentially engage in a hockey menage a trois; I’ll leave that to you in the comments section below. Should Winnipeg try to dump a contract on Boston, Mark Stuart would appear to be the most likely. Should that be the case, you could add Joe Morrow or Matt Grzelcyk to the trade package above. Boston could seek Drew Stafford, given their questionable depth at wing following Frank Vatrano‘s recent injury. In that case, it’s entirely possible to see Ryan Spooner or David Krejci enter the discussion.

Next: Significance Of A Trouba Trade

At the end of the day, it’s going to cost Boston a pretty penny to acquire Jacob Trouba. And regardless of what it costs, there will undoubtedly be those Boston faithful who insist the B’s gave up too much, should Donnie be able to facilitate a trade. Jacob Trouba might not become the elite, franchise defenseman he’s been projected as being, but that could just as easily (if not more so) be said about any and all of Boston’s prized prospects. He’s still just 22 years old, and would appear to be PRECISELY the kind of player the Bruins needed to “shake loose” at this juncture. A change of scenery once helped turn Tyler Seguin from “Talented, With Cause For Concern,” into a bona fide NHL star. Perhaps this time WE should be so lucky.

Great players cost great assets. Bold moves are required. A decade ago, Joe Thornton was traded to make room for Zdeno Chara. With Seguin, Boychuk, Lucic, and Hamilton all having skipped town, there’s hope that Jacob Trouba represents that same kind of happy ending.