Trouba ends his hold­out, re-signs with Jets

Win­nipeg de­fence­man agrees to two-year deal af­ter ask­ing for an op­por­tu­nity else­where

Toronto Star - - SPORTS - JUDY OWEN

WIN­NIPEG— Gen­eral man­ager Kevin Chevel­day­off ex­pects Ja­cob Trouba to be wel­comed back by his Win­nipeg Jets team­mates and their fans.

The hold­out de­fence­man re-signed with the NHL club on Mon­day, ink­ing a two-year deal that pays him US$2.5 mil­lion this sea­son and $3.5 mil­lion in 2017-18.

“I think that Ja­cob is a pop­u­lar player in the room there,” Chevel­day­off said in a Mon­day con­fer­ence call. “I’m sure that there was con­tact with dif­fer­ent play­ers and the like dur­ing this time so I don’t an­tic­i­pate that’s a prob­lem there.”

Trouba missed Win­nipeg’s train­ing camp and the start of the sea­son while sit­ting out over a dis­pute with the team.

Trouba’s agent Kurt Over­hardt said in a Septem­ber press re­lease that the blue­liner wanted an op­por­tu­nity to play some­where else, cit­ing Win­nipeg’s log­jam of de­fence­man. Chevel­day­off said Mon­day he doesn’t think fans will hold a grudge against the 22-year-old Trouba.

“What I be­lieve is that Ja­cob will go out and he’ll play hard,” Chevel­day­off said. “And I think the things that brought the fans to­wards lik­ing him in his first three years, I think you’re go­ing to see those things oc­cur again.

“And, cer­tainly, he’s go­ing to help our team to win, which is ul­ti­mately what I think ev­ery­one in the stands wants to see.”

Chevel­day­off, who has a pic­ture on his of­fice wall of him shak­ing Trouba’s hand af­ter the Jets selected him with the ninth over­all pick in the 2012 NHL draft, said he’s glad the dis­pute is over.

“I’d be ly­ing if I said it wasn’t cer­tainly a dif­fi­cult and try­ing time from my per­spec­tive be­cause Ja­cob means a great deal to our or­ga­ni­za­tion,” said Chevel­day­off, who met with Trouba when the team played in Detroit last Fri­day.

“There’s a long-stand­ing re­la­tion­ship that goes deeper than just the game,” he added. “You care about how he’s do­ing. You care about not just the busi­ness side of the game. You care about how he’s hold­ing up.”

Trouba has been skat­ing in his home state of Michi­gan with train­ers and teams in the Detroit area and could ar­rive in Win­nipeg as early as Tues­day.

Chevel­day­off wouldn’t dis­cuss how ne­go­ti­a­tions played out in re­gards to a po­ten­tial trade, but he did re­spond to re­ports that Trouba wanted out of Canada.

“From the very on­set, Ja­cob didn’t have a prob­lem play­ing in Win­nipeg and didn’t have a prob­lem play­ing in Canada,” Chevel­day­off said.

As for where Trouba will line up on the ice, Chevel­day­off is leav­ing that up to head coach Paul Mau­rice.

The young de­fence­man had been ex­pected to con­tinue play­ing this sea­son on the left side with veteran Dustin Byfuglien, where he was log­ging an av­er­age of 22 min­utes per game. Tyler My­ers is on the right side in the sec­ond pair­ing, although he’s out with an in­jury right now but could be back soon. Rookie Josh Mor­ris­sey has been in Trouba’s spot with Byfuglien.

Had Trouba not signed a con­tract some­where by Dec. 1, he would have had to sit out the re­main­der of the NHL sea­son.

Trouba is el­i­gi­ble to sign a con­tract ex­ten­sion July 1 and Chevel­day­off was asked if he’d be seek­ing a longer term.

“The ink’s just dry­ing on this con­tract here so let’s let ev­ery­thing play it­self out as it goes,” he said.

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