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This article was published 26/9/2016 (1141 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
JACOB Trouba’s agent says nothing has changed since he and his client went public Saturday evening demanding a trade out of Winnipeg.
"I don’t anticipate anything changing. This is the process," said Kurt Overhardt of KO Sports.
The narrative at Winnipeg Jets training camp since the news broke has been fixated on the restricted free-agent defenceman, who won’t be showing up at training camp according to the released statement.
Trouba told the Free Press Saturday he’s unhappy with his situation with the club, which he said isn’t lining up with his wishes to achieve his full potential as an NHL blue-liner.
"What it comes down to is, am I going to look back at my career in 20 years and regret just being OK on the third pairing and going along with my career?" the 22-year-old said. "I mean, I’ve worked pretty hard at this game for 18 years and I want to realize what kind of player I can be. If that’s not in Winnipeg, that’s how it is."
Overhardt shot down the assumption the side of the ice Trouba wants to play on is really just a smokescreen for a young player looking to line his wallet with as many Benjamins as he can.
"You heard what the young man said (through the released statement). He’s not crazy or selfish," said Overhardt. "At the end of the day, we have to live with ourselves and live with our values and what we think our potential is. It’s not about money."
Part of that potential is securing a top-pairing role on the right side of the blue line, something Trouba told Free Press columnist Paul Wiecek wasn’t a sticking point during the pre-tournament games leading up to the World Cup of Hockey less than two weeks ago.
"I’ve played the right side my whole life," Trouba said Sept. 15. "I’m obviously more comfortable there. But I understand you have to do what’s best for your team."
That tune changed Saturday, and Overhardt clarified his client’s comments Monday afternoon.
"I will tell you that anything my client said during the World Cup was completely tight to the vest," Overhardt said, suggesting Trouba possibly stretched the truth. "He did not want any distractions from his perspective. His responsibility with that team… he did not want to be a distraction or have anything focused on him. Anything he might of said… he has no obligation to tell people what is going on."
Overhardt went on to say the reason he took the issue to the media was to make sure there was some transparency as to why his client wasn’t in Winnipeg.
"And the other thing is, there seemed to be this big impression that this was a contract holdout. One, it’s not a holdout because he doesn’t have a contract and two, it’s not about the money."
Meanwhile, Blake Wheeler had a message for Trouba on Monday morning.
"We want him back," the Jets captain said following his first training camp skate with the team after returning from World Cup of Hockey duties with Team USA.
Wheeler conceded that the decision by Trouba and Overhardt to announce their trade request Saturday night is "part of the business."
"It’s too bad, we love having Trouby here," Wheeler said of the Jets’ first pick — ninth overall — in the 2012 NHL draft.
"For me, you hope to get him back in our room as soon as possible. He’s got to ultimately look out for himself. That’s part of the business side of this thing.
"It can be a little bit ugly at times. As a friend and a teammate, you wish him all the best in that regard. We miss having him."
Wheeler’s fellow Team USA member Dustin Byfuglien, who has been shuttled all over the Jets lineup in the past — including a chunk of time spent playing with Trouba on the team’s top defensive pairing last season — offered a similar tone.
"It sucks to lose someone like that. I’ve been put all over, it’s not easy," one of the team’s two new alternate captains said. "You’ve got a position, you’ve always played a position, it’s a lot easier to stay there."
Byfuglien said he didn’t find out about the situation until he arrived at the MTS Iceplex Monday morning.
"He’s obviously not gone yet but he’s not here with us now."
Never one to miss an opportunity to make a tough situation a little lighter, Byfuglien took the serious cape off for a couple seconds.
"You don’t want to be playing forward. I’ll tell you that," he said. "If you don’t want to play left then you don’t want (to). You set your mark, early, I guess."