Head coach Joe Schmidt has already expressed his concerns over how his players will cope with the six-day turn-around this week and he’s indicated that today’s work-out will be no more than a light run-through for players to get to grips with how the French side will set-up.Keith Earls is expected to be ruled-out of this weekend’s game with a suspected concussion, while Schmidt has yet to indicate if he’s going to recall fit-again Mike Ross to his panel.
In addition to Pionk, the Jets reacquired the pick they’d previously shipped off to New York when they rented Hayes at the deadline. This gives them a first-round selection for the first time since 2017 and the chance to begin restocking their prospect base. At No. 20, there should be several strong defensive prospects to choose from, but it will take years before they reach Trouba’s ability, if ever.#NHLJets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff on trades: “We’d love to keep everybody and love to have enough cap space to sign everybody to the extensions they deserve and we’d love to take another swing with the group that we have here. But there’s realities in a hard cap world.” #wfp— Mike McIntyre (@mikemcintyrewpg) June 18, 2019#NHLJets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff on trading Jacob Trouba tonight: “With the opportunity not to get a long-term deal in Winnipeg here, we just felt it was best to open up the door to the possibility of trading him and today is the day we finalized it.” #wfp— Mike McIntyre (@mikemcintyrewpg) June 18, 2019#NHLJets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff on Neal Pionk: “He’s a real competitive player. When you do the research on him and talk to different people about him, he’s a competitor.” Sees him killing penalties, possibly on PP, possibly in shutdown role with Josh Morrissey” #wfp— Mike McIntyre (@mikemcintyrewpg) June 18, 2019The deal marks the end of Trouba’s roller-coaster tenure in Winnipeg. He and the team had a tense relationship at times.In 2016, he held out during negotiations after his entry-level contract expired, and at one point, he requested a trade before rescinding it and re-signing in the following months. Last season, he earned around $5.5 million on a one-year extension, and the sides hadn’t made progress this offseason toward a long-term contract. The Rangers are sending a message that their rebuild may be on the fast track.In a blockbuster deal Monday, New York acquired defenseman Jacob Trouba from the Winnipeg Jets in exchange for defenseman Neal Pionk and the 20th overall pick in the 2019 NHL Draft. Both players are pending restricted free agent blueliners with very different styles of play, changing teams in very different situations. The Jets were forced to make a move on Trouba due to a salary cap crunch and an inability for the sides to agree on a long-term contract.The Rangers, meanwhile, are opportunists, parting with the pick they acquired for dealing Kevin Hayes to the Jets at the trade deadline and an expendable bottom-pair defenseman on an expiring contract. After amassing a trove of draft picks and prospects in consecutive years, general manager Jeff Gorton is entering the next phase of roster reconstruction by adding immediate talent to supplement a young core.Let’s dive into the trade grades.NHL DRAFT 2019: Final big board of the top 62 prospectsJacob Trouba trade gradesNew York Rangers receive from Winnipeg:Defenseman Jacob TroubaJets receive from New York:Defenseman Neal Pionk and the 20th overall pick in the 2019 NHL DraftRangers: AGorton was able to take advantage of Winnipeg’s salary cap situation for a major boost to the Rangers’ defensive corps without losing a meaningful roster player or one of their top prospects. And Trouba, one of the most underrated defensemen in the league buried on Winnipeg’s blueline, brings an immediate solution to their blue line woes.The Rangers have seen recent signings Kevin Shattenkirk and Brendan Smith flop, as both have been unable to produce much offensively, and struggles in their own zone left the right side weakened. Trouba, a right shot, jumps both on the depth chart as New York’s top-pair anchor right away, moving out from Dustin Byfuglien’s shadow in Winnipeg.In 82 games last season, the 25-year-old registered eight goals and 50 points to be the Jets’ leading scorer on defense. He also skated around 22:53 minutes per game, ranking second among all Winnipeg blueliners (trailing only Byfuglien).“He’s a big defenseman, he’s 25 years old, he can play against the best players, he has offense, he can kill penalties, he’s in the prime of his career…we jumped on it.”- #NYR GM Jeff Gorton on Trouba pic.twitter.com/567wxBVn7s— New York Rangers (@NYRangers) June 18, 2019The Rangers allowed 3.26 goals per game on average in 2018-19, ninth-worst in the NHL. And on special teams, they converted on the man advantage less than 20 percent of the time, and they had the fourth-worst penalty kill in the league (78.2 percent). Trouba should provide not only more defensive stability, but also more production, having proven to be a strong puck mover and power-play quarterback in Winnipeg when given the opportunity.With New York expected to draft Kaapo Kakko second overall, and with the blue line now significantly improved, things are looking up for the Blueshirts as Gorton continues to rebuild the roster.What comes next, of course, is negotiations to sign Trouba to a long-term deal. If the sides are unable to reach an agreement, Gorton could flip the blueline at the trade deadline no harm, no foul.NHL TRADE RUMORS: Sabres contacted Rangers about Jimmy VeseyJets: CPlayers like Trouba don’t come often enough in the NHL, and though his time with the Jets hasn’t been perfect, he was a major part of their playoff runs in back-to-back seasons, logging big ice time at even strength and on special teams especially when the oft-injured Byfuglien was out of the lineup.The Jets lose significant depth and talent without Trouba. And although the received another right-handed shot in Pionk to fill the depth chart, he’s a third-pairing defenseman who wasn’t known as a possession driver in New York. Pionk a physical defenseman who isn’t afraid to throw his weight around and block shots, but struggles with puck possession and doesn’t provide a lot of offense. Only 23, he registered 26 points with the Rangers in his sophomore campaign in 2018-19.