Well this is certainly a very interesting and very surprising bump in the road.
Early in the offseason the New York Rangers made a big move when they acquired veteran Winnipeg Jets defenseman Jacob Trouba via a trade. The move marked the end of a frustrating chapter between Trouba and his former team, a chapter that was marred by bitter contract negotiations and multiple short term deals for a player that many believed the Jets should have locked up long term at several points during his tenure there. The good news for the Rangers of course was that by all accounts it appeared that Trouba very much wanted to play for their organization and it seemed only a matter of time before the two sides came to terms on a max term contract. Well that may no longer be the case.
In a very interesting report for the New York Post, National Hockey League insider Larry Brooks revealed that the negotiations between the two sides have been far more contentious than initially had been expected. Brooks admitted that initially he believed there was no chance that Trouba and the Rangers would be forced to go to salary arbitration, a date that is set for July 25th, and would instead negotiate a new deal. What is even more interesting is that Brooks has revealed that he is no longer certain that will be the case, and given Trouba's history it would come as no surprise to me to see him hold out on his team yet again.
To be clear here Brooks says that he still believes the two sides will come to some form of long term agreement before going to arbitration, but the mere fact that the Rangers insider has doubts about the situation would seemingly indicate that negotiations have not been as smooth as expected. Rangers general manager Jeff Gorton and Trouba's agent, Kurt Overhardt, have reportedly been negotiating on the regular, but with just days between now and arbitration the familiar talk around Trouba is starting to pop up.
Fans in Winnipeg will be all too familiar with these kind of holdouts from Trouba, and you have to wonder if the Rangers knew what kind of headache they were acquiring when they traded for the talented defenseman. If Trouba were to get another short term offer in arbitration, I would not be surprised if his career as a Ranger turned out to be a rather short one.