Jacob Trouba is giving off strong vibes he’s quite content with his lot in life as a top-pairing defenceman with the Winnipeg Jets.
The pending restricted free agent, coming off his fifth NHL season, said Tuesday he’d be open to signing a long-term deal with the Central Division club this summer.
“You get the sense there’s a little unfinished business, I guess, here with this team. We all have such good relationships on this team, it’s fun to be part of. It’s a special team. You want to play for a contender, and that’s what we have here,” Trouba said as the Jets met with the media for the final time this season at Bell MTS Place.
“The season just ended. But I’m sure in the next week or two, or couple of days, I’ll meet with my agent and we’ll go over stuff and see where it goes from there and talk to (Winnipeg GM Kevin Cheveldayoff). I’m sure something will get worked out.”
Trouba, who played the bulk of the season with defensive partner Josh Morrissey on the club’s shutdown duo, expressed a desire to continue their work with a team on the rise.
“I feel like we played very well together. We had an important role, it’s a role that’s challenging every night,” he said. “By the end of the year we were pretty confident in our ability to play against the other teams’ best players.
“Making the run we made in the playoffs and just how this team is capable of playing, it’s fun to be a part of.”
Trouba’s relationship with the organization splintered prior to the 2016-17 season when it was revealed he’d asked to be traded to another team.
A statement to that effect was issued by his agent, Kurt Overhardt, in late September 2016, pointing out, “the situation is not about money; it is solely about our client having the opportunity to realize his potential as a right-shot NHL defenceman.”
Trouba refused to report to training camp, but then signed a two-year bridge deal, worth $3 million annually, after sitting out the first four weeks of the season. That deal expires July 1.
Trouba was asked Tuesday if he’d prefer to get something done sooner rather than later.
“Yeah, been down that road once,” he said. “The quicker the better.”
Cheveldayoff believes contract negotiations with Trouba’s camp will take on a far more amiable tone this time around.
“As a player, I think, you want to feel like you make a difference, and I think that Jacob and Josh and the group there I do think they feel they make a difference,” he said. “The business side’s the business side. It will take care of itself. But again I really believe that this group feels strongly about this group here, that they like each other. That’s an important first component.
“At one point they’re all young players, all learning what it takes. They graduate on to veteran players, and somewhere in the middle they really figure out exactly how tough of a league it is to have ultimate success. When they have a group they feel comfortable with and a group of people they’ve grown with, they want to be a part of it.
“So we’ll do our best, sharpen our pencils and do as good a work as we can on the business side of it to make sure everybody feels like they’re a part of it on the fairness of a contract and also build within the constraints.”
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