We’ve had the night to consider the possibility that the Oilers should pursue Jacob Trouba and like most people, when I woke up it still sounded like a good idea. Here is a collection of my thoughts on the matter.
What’s His Deal?
There is something about Jacob Trouba that has always struck me as a tad overrated. That’s not to say he isn’t good, just that his early success has carried him pretty far. That rookie season as a teenage defender in the NHL he posted 29 points in 65 games. That’s pretty darned good! The problem is that his point totals have dropped in each of the next two seasons. This past season he had just 21 in 82 games. That kind of decline on the surface isn’t immediately appealing. Garret Hohl of JetsNation tackled that subject here. The conclusions being that the decline in scoring has a lot to do with Trouba’s usage. For example, declining PP time and playing his off-side.
Usage, for Trouba, isn’t just a sticking point for bloggers. It’s the primary reason why the 22-year-old defender wants out of the Jets organization. When Trouba was playing in the perceived top four of the Jets he was skating on the left side with either Byfuglien or Myers. If he wasn’t playing in the top four and was on his natural side, he was playing with boat anchor Mark Stuart. No matter which option they used, Trouba was in an uncomfortable position.
Jacob Trouba’s 5v5 metrics from his three NHL seasons combined look like this:
3554:47, 2.28 GF60, 2.21 GA60, 50.8 GF%, 58.28 CF60, 54.25 CA60, 51.8 CF%
For such a young player, this is very good. That said, the Jets in general over that time had a 50.8 GF% and a 51.3 CF%, so Trouba’s numbers are in line with team performance as a whole. But what about that Mark Stuart boat anchor thing?
Here are the WOWYs for Trouba and Stuart
Trouba with Stuart
2050:26, 0.64 P60, 2.08 GF60, 2.31 GA60, 47.3 GF%, 56.68 CF60, 55.51 CA60, 50.5 CF%
Trouba without Stuart
1504.21, 0.80 P60, 2.55 GF60, 2.07 GA60, 55.2 GF%, 60.46 CF60, 52.53 CA60, 53.5 CF%
Stuart without Trouba
911:06, 0.26 P60, 1.98 GF60, 1.84 GA60, 51.7 GF%, 50.71 CF60, 59.60 CA60, 46.0 CF%
I didn’t want to include another line for Stuart with Trouba since the on-ice numbers would be the same as Trouba with Stuart, but his points per 60 minutes drastically fall from 0.47 points per 60 minutes (which isn’t that great anyway) to 0.26 points per 60 minutes when he’s away from him. Basically, every measure we have for performance shows that Trouba has been carrying Stuart from the time he entered the NHL as a 19-year-old.
What’s This Going To Cost?
Hey, my valuation of players and understanding of the market has been completely set on fire since the Oilers traded Hall for Larsson. In that context, it should roughly cost the Oilers Jordan Eberle, Oscar Klefbom, and the first born sons of Egypt to get Trouba. More realistically, the acquisition price should be a comparably young left-handed defender under club control and with a high ceiling.
On Edmonton, something resembling a one for one swap should probably be Darnell Nurse for Jacob Trouba. Trouba and Nurse are only a year apart. Nurse is a lefty locked on the third pair with two better players ahead of him. Trouba is a righty locked on the third pair with “better” players ahead of him. Trouba has accomplished much more at the NHL level. Nurse is seen as a “five tool player” with a very high ceiling. The fit seems good.
However, the Oilers appear to be very bullish on Nurse. He plays the game the way the management wants the Oilers to play. He was a MacT guy and MacT still has a voice on this team. Chiarelli and McLellan have recently commented on how much bigger and stronger Nurse is coming into camp. They see him as a complete defender in the NHL one day very soon. That’s worth a lot.
Members of the Edmonton media contingent have also said that the Oilers would not want to trade Darnell Nurse, even for a player who appears to be an upgrade and plays a more critical position. I won’t waste too much time saying that this is a bad idea, though it is bizarre considering what the Oilers were willing to part with to get Larsson. I will state that I actually believe the reports that the Oilers are loathed to move Nurse.
So what kind of package can the Oilers create that satisfies the Jets’ desire for a young LHD in return for Trouba? The best package I can come up with that doesn’t involve Nurse is:
Griffin Reinhart, 2017 1st Round pick (not protected), and Caleb Jones/Ethan Bear
It’s the best I can come up with. I think many other teams can offer comparable or better packages that include young LHD who are already established NHL players. The inclusion of the 1st round pick and Edmonton’s Decade of Disaster is probably the most enticing part for the Jets.
If it comes down to moving Nurse or not. I think the Oilers should heavily consider it.
Jacob Trouba is a 22-year-old 6’3″ 200+ pound defender who has a track record of playing a great two-way game from the time he entered the NHL as a teenager. This is an exciting young player and one who likely hasn’t even reached his peak. He might even be better than he’s shown to date because he’s been dragging Mark Stuart around NHL rinks for three years and when he hasn’t, he’s been playing his off-side. Edmonton can make a play to solidify their top 4 now and in the future by acquiring this player.
Go for it!