Trade Proposal Sees Rangers Unload Jacob Trouba on Red Wings

Jacob Trouba

Getty Jacob Trouba of the New York Rangers.

The New York Rangers won the 2024 NHL Presidents’ Trophy award. Even though they didn’t reach the Stanley Cup Final, there shouldn’t be many roster changes.

That’s partly because of their regular-season success and partly because of salary constraints. CapFriendly projects that the Rangers will have barely $9 million in cap space entering the offseason. That figure only includes 19 players on the roster.

Rangers captain Jacob Trouba, 30 years old, has the fourth-biggest cap hit earning $8 million per season. Considering his subpar production in the playoffs, New York could explore ways to remove his salary from their books.

Peter Baugh of The Athletic proposed a trade on June 17 that could help New York unload his contract by sending the blueliner to the Detroit Red Wings.

“A hypothetical (trade) would be Trouba, with some of his salary retained by the Rangers, to Detroit for Justin Holl, who has two years on his deal left at $3.4 million AAV and was a healthy scratch at times during the regular season,” Baugh wrote. “New York could then either buy Holl out for cheaper than Trouba or keep him as an overpaid third-pairing defenseman.”

Baugh thinks the Rangers might find a trade partner, but he acknowledges there is not a great solution to solving the problems posed by Trouba’s large cap hit.

“My guess is there are teams that would be interested in Trouba, but I can’t see any being willing to take on his full contract and send back NHL players to the Rangers,” Baugh wrote.

Why Would the Rangers Want Jacob Trouba Out?

Trouba is the Rangers captain and one of the team’s leaders. The Winnipeg Jets drafted Trouba with the No. 9 pick in the 2012 draft and he played 408 games for the franchise. The Jets traded Trouba to New York in June 2019, and he signed a contract with the Rangers in July of that year, avoiding arbitration.

Trouba has played 340 games in New York scoring 31 goals and assisting 99. His coming off some struggles during the Rangers’ postseason run in 2024. Baugh graded Trouba’s regular season with a “B-” in his end-of-season team review on June 10.

“It was a so-so regular season for the Rangers captain, nothing really bad but also nothing particularly good on the ice,” Baugh wrote. “Perhaps his best contribution was being the captain of a team that needed to buy in right away to Laviolette’s system and style.”

Trouba’s postseason was an entirely different (for the bad) story. Baugh gave him a “D” grade for his postseason performance.

“In the postseason, things took a decidedly downward turn for Trouba,” Baugh wrote. “He was off his game in a bad, bad way in his own end, running out of position often and committing 11 penalties.”

The veteran blueliner broke his ankle in March. According to Baugh, however, Trouba told reporters that the injury didn’t impact his postseason performances.

Trouba’s point production has decreased for three consecutive seasons. He’s gone from 39 in 2022, to 30 in 2023, and finally 22 in 2024.

Could Rangers Buy Out Jacob Trouba?

Baugh believes a trade could be facilitated if the Rangers retain some of Trouba’s salary or include a draft pick or prospect to sweeten the deal. Trouba’s contract also includes a 15-team no-trade list.

“Trouba has some control in this situation,” Baugh pointed out. “His 15-team no-trade list will take away potential options for the Rangers. But if you’re looking to get back NHL players, something like the above hypothetical is probably the only way a deal works.”

If trading Trouba becomes unfeasible, the Rangers could consider a buyout as an alternative.

Thomas Drance and Harman Dayal of The Athletic listed Trouba as a potential buyout candidate on June 17, but they don’t believe the Rangers would actually cut their captain.

“Do we think the Rangers’ front office will pull the trigger on a Jacob Trouba buyout? Truthfully, it seems like a long shot,” they wrote.

The authors, however, think the best solution for the Rangers in dealing with Trouba could be a buyout if they cannot find a trade partner.

“If a trade isn’t possible, could the Rangers consider a buyout? It’s clearly a long shot, but the math is palatable,” they wrote. “Buying Trouba out would create $4 million of cap relief for each of the next two seasons at the expense of a $2 million dead cap charge for 2026-27 and 2027-28.”

Why Targeting Detroit Red Wings’ Justin Holl?

It’s fair to say Justin Holl’s status with the Detroit Red Wings is uncertain. uncertain. The 32-year-old defenseman was a healthy scratch for a long chunk of the 2024 season, appearing in just three games between the end of January and the regular season ending in May.

Holl signed a three-year, $3.4 million AAV contract with Detroit in July 2023, but he’s failed to get into a prominent role with the Red Wings since inking his deal.

Red Wings head coach Derek Lalonde only used Holl three times (all three games happening in March) after January. He also made concerning comments about Holl’s future in Detroit, saying there were two ways for Holl to play.

“Either feel—we’ve trusted him all year—or if we get through the rest of the season with all seven healthy D, we might be the only team in the history of the league to do that. I think it’ll play itself out,” Lalonde said, via Sam Stockton of The Hockey News reporting on February 27.

Emily Kaplan of ESPN also reported on February 23 that Red Wings General Manager Steve Yzerman was “listening to offers on his defensemen.” However, Kaplan didn’t mention Holl’s name in particular.

By landing Holl the Rangers wouldn’t be adding any talent to their roster, but they would be moving out a lot of salary in Trouba’s deal while getting a more palatable buyout candidate.

According to PuckPedia, buying Holl out would spread out his final two seasons over the next four years. Holl’s $1.1-million annual cap hit in a buyout would give the Rangers savings over the first two years while penalizing the franchise in the two seasons after that.

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