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This article was published 24/9/2016 (2061 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
Jacob Trouba doesn’t want to look back on his career in 20 years and feel he didn’t realize his true potential.
And with that, the restricted free agent defenceman’s agent, Kurt Overhardt, released a statement on Saturday night, suggesting his client wishes to be traded from the Winnipeg Jets, the club that drafted him ninth overall in 2012.
"It’s all about me getting an opportunity to realize my potential as a right-handed defenceman, that’s really what it comes down to," Trouba told the Free Press on Saturday night. "With conversations I’ve had with people in the organization, I don’t feel like that is going to happen. There are two really good right-handed defenceman in line in front of me (Dustin Byfuglien and Tyler Myers).
"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? 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."
Trouba’s entry-level contract expired on July 1.
The former University of Michigan Wolverine reiterated that his wish for a trade has nothing to do with the city, the fans or many of the friends he’s made in the organization to the Free Press.
Trouba’s leverage is minimal at best as the Jets own his rights until he has played seven years in the league or turns 27 years of age.
Trouba said he and his agent met face-to-face with Jets general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff in May and it was there that they asked for a deal to be made to ship the 22-year-old out of Winnipeg.
"I wanted to keep it out of the media and let them have the opportunity to figure out what they were going to do," Trouba said. "I didn’t want it to get to this point but we’re here. What’s best now is that I’m not in camp."
The statement obtained by the Free Press states that Trouba wanted an expanded role on the right side of the Jets blue line and that contract negotiations had stalled over the last several months.
Overhardt said that while negotiations had come to a halt, he and Cheveldayoff spoke often.
"I like to say Kevin and I spent the summer together," Overhardt said. "We spoke a number of times every week. There were some weeks we talked every day for several hours. They’ve been nothing but professional."
The Jets. meanwhile, released a statement on Saturday night stating they’re aware of Trouba’s request to be dealt.
"Over the last three seasons, Jacob Trouba has played a key role for the Winnipeg Jets and in our view still represents an important part of the long-term future of our club," said Cheveldayoff in the release. "As such, any decisions made regarding Jacob Trouba will be made in the best interest of the Winnipeg Jets Hockey Club.
"As an unsigned player, we cannot compel Jacob to report to training camp at this time. However, we will continue to work diligently to resolve this matter. We will have no further comment on this matter until such time as it is resolved."
During a question and answer session with Jets GM on Saturday morning during the team’s fan fest events, Cheveldayoff said that talks with Trouba and the club had been on-going.
"It’s hard to give updates on ongoing negotiations and contract talks. His agent and I have had regular conversations but I can’t really give an update at this point," said Cheveldayoff. "Certainly for us, Jacob’s a big part of our organization. He’s someone we drafted and we really believe in long-term. So hopefully, you know, there’s a resolution."
When asked if Trouba had played his last game in Winnipeg, Overhardt said, "If you read the press statement, I think that kind of speaks for itself."
Trouba scored six times and added 15 assists in 81 games last season for the Jets. In 211 career NHL games, the Rochester, Mich., native has 23 goals and 89 assists.
Trouba was a member of Team North America at the World Cup of Hockey.