WINNIPEG - The Winnipeg Jets have re-signed RFA defenceman Jacob Trouba to a two-year contract that will pay him a prorated base salary of $2.5M this season, and $3.5M in 2017-18.
The signing comes roughly six weeks after Trouba's agent Kurt Overhardt confirmed the defenceman had requested to be traded from Winnipeg.
"I'd be lying if I said it wasn't a difficult and trying time from my perspective. Jacob means a lot to our organization," General Manager Kevin Cheveldayoff said during a conference call with local and national media.
With those feelings now behind him, today was all about the present and excitement for the future with No. 8 back on the blue line.
"In this game, anybody can be traded, but today, here, we're very excited about this announcement and moving forward, putting whatever has happened or has been said behind us. We're very excited to see Jacob in the lineup for us again.
"He's a Winnipeg Jet."
Video: Cheveldayoff Conference Call
The GM is hopeful is that Trouba, who's been skating near his off-season home in Michigan, will be back in Winnipeg as soon as tomorrow and in the lineup as soon as possible.
"Everybody that's in this game knows there's a business side to it," Cheveldayoff said. "When players are in the dressing room, that's their family, their bond. Within the room, I think he'll be welcomed back. It's an exciting time for all sides."
Trouba needed to be signed by Dec. 1 or else he would be ineligible to play the rest of the season, per the CBA.
Video: WPG@DAL: Trouba gives the Jets a three-goal lead
There were rumours that Trouba did not want to play in Winnipeg or anywhere in Canada, but Cheveldayoff shot that down.
"Now that I can comment, I can at least comment on that," he said.
The GM met with both Trouba and Overhardt in person last week when the Jets visited Detroit. After a six-week stalemate, some common ground was reached.
"There are longstanding relationships that go deeper than the game," Cheveldayoff said. "I've got a picture in my office of me shaking his hand when we drafted him; I care about how he's doing. … I'm glad we were able to get this done and that he's a part of our group again.
"He's a hockey player and he wants to play. I'm glad he has that opportunity now."
Trouba has 23 goals and 72 points in 211 regular-season games with the Jets, while logging 22:34 per game in average ice time. The 22-year-old is one of the team's biggest drivers in terms of shot differential, running a career Corsi For % of 51.6, despite seeing his offensive totals dip in each of his first three seasons.
While those numbers have yet to eclipse the 29-point total he achieved in his rookie year, the Rochester, Michigan, product has been a rock defensively. In 2015-16, he was given the second lowest (next to Ben Chiarot) percentage of offensive zone starts among Winnipeg blueliners, with half of them beginning in his own end.
In addition, Trouba is often deployed against the opponents' better players (Dustin Byfuglien and Tyler Myers tend to draw the toughest assignments, mind you), and has handled that task with aplomb.
For those unfamiliar with the NHL's advanced metrics (or "fancy stats" as they're sometimes referred to), here's a quick rundown:
Corsi: This measures all shot attempts (on goal, blocked and missed) at even strength. Named after St. Louis Blue goalie coach Jim Corsi, it was originally designed to measure a goalie's physical workload over the course of a game.
The NHL now officially tracks this and refers to it simply as "shot attempts," or "SAT."
If your Corsi sits above 50%, that is a very good thing and is a good indicator of where the puck spends most of its time when a player/players on the ice. Mathieu Perreault was the Jets' top performer in this area last year, clocking in at 57.9%. Byfuglien was the top defenceman at 54.5.
Offensive Zone Start %: Simply, it's how often you start a shift in either the offensive or defensive zone at even strength, which can have an effect on your results in other areas.
Bottom line: When Trouba is on the ice for the Jets, no matter who he's up against, the puck spends more time in the offensive zone than it does in the defensive end - and that is how you win games.
"He's a young player that can play a lot of minutes and can do a lot of things," Cheveldayoff said. "So far this year there's been great opportunity for a guy like Josh Morrissey to step up and show what he's all about, but in this league you need more than one, two, or three defenceman. Especially with the injuries we've had, those are big holes to fill. Once (Trouba) rounds into form here that will certainly help us to continue to improve with the young players we already have in the lineup."
Trouba was the ninth pick in the 2012 NHL Draft.
- Ryan Dittrick, WinnipegJets.com