Hey there, time traveller! This article was published 25/9/2016 (1846 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
The sentiment was nearly unanimous in the Winnipeg Jets dressing room on Sunday.
"It's a tough situation."
Those four words were uttered by nearly every Jet polled following Saturday night's revelation that 22-year-old Jacob Trouba, a restricted free agent defenceman who was drafted ninth overall by the Jets in 2012, wants out of city he's called home for the past three seasons.
Just hours earlier, Trouba, along with his agent Kurt Overhardt of KO Sports, released a statement to the media on Saturday night outlining the defenceman's desire to find greener pastures, a place where he wouldn't play in the shadow of fellow right-handed shots in Dustin Byfuglien and Tyler Myers and look back on his career with regret about not realizing his full potential as a NHL blue-liner.
A tough situation
"It’s a tough situation. I don’t think he’s feeling great right now. I don’t think both sides are," said fellow rear guard, Mark Stuart, who said he's still holding out hope Trouba might have a change of heart. "I hope that it works out and I hope that it works out here, big time. He’s a huge part of our team and a really good friend. I know the team really wants him to (play here). If not, I hope it works out somewhere else."
Stuart has spent considerable time on-ice playing with Trouba during his time with the Jets, but no one has spent as much as best friend and former University of Michigan Wolverines teammate Andrew Copp.
Copp had the unenviable position of trying to balance his friendship and his vocation on Sunday as he spoke with the media shortly after Day 3 of training camp came to a close.
"It’s just something that I’m going to have to accept. I can’t change whatever is going to happen," said Copp, admitting he was out to dinner Saturday night with teammates when they found out the news on the NHL’s website. "I’m there for him for support and obviously I’m here with the Jets, too. We need to do what’s best for us at the same time. I’m kind of in the middle of it, but at the same time, I need to support him and do whatever he thinks is best. It is what it is.
"I want to spend as much time with one of my best friends as possible. We lived together last year. But that’s selfish of me. He needs to do what’s best for him. We’re going to keep in touch one way or the other. We talked last night… just life… two buddies catching up."
Not everyone in the dressing room was as diplomatic, however.
Jets forward Mathieu Perreault, who re-upped with the club to the tune of four more years earlier this summer, sounded off on Sunday morning following his on-ice session at Jets training camp. He questioned the logic of going public with the request for a trade, as Trouba and his agent did on Saturday night.
'How much more does he want?'
"This guy plays big minutes, 22 minutes, and he’s gonna complain some sort of way about his ice time. How much more does he want?" Perreault said.
Trouba told the Free Press Saturday night that he and his agent met face-to-face with Jets general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff in May to request that he be dealt. That trade request has not yet been honoured.
"It’s a little unfortunate; we like Jacob, he’s been a great player for us," Perreault continued. "We would have hoped he would have, they would have (found) a way to get it done. It’s kind of sad to see. He’s such a young player, obviously. I don’t know, it’s a bit of a weird situation. I’m a little disappointed with (him) saying he wants to get traded. A young player who’s just coming into this league."
If the same sentiment was shared amongst others in the room, it wasn't on display on Sunday. Instead, many players took a more regretful approach to the situation.
"It’s tough. Obviously, he’s looking for the best thing in his career," said veteran Jets forward Bryan Little. "He’s a good guy, a great guy in the dressing room. Everyone liked him. You wish the best for his future. At the same time, you have 60 guys here who would die to put that jersey on.
"Honestly, it’s tough. He’s friends with us. He’s not just a teammate of ours. Anytime a guy doesn’t want to be here, it’s tough. You wish he’d come back to play and play with us because he brings a lot to our team. At the same time, if he thinks his career can move forward somewhere else, you wish him the best of luck."
Fellow defenceman Tyler Myers was still trying to take in the news after the Jets' first skate Sunday.
Trouba indirectly acknowledged Myers (and fellow right-handed shot Dustin Byfuglien) as players keeping him from playing higher up on the depth chart in Winnipeg.
"When you look at the team, I don’t think it’s a bad thing to have depth like we do — not only on the back end, but the guys we have up front as well," the 6-7 defenceman said. "We’re really excited about our team. Having Trouby on our team since I came in, he’s been a big help on the ice, a really good guy in the dressing room."
A distraction during training camp?
The obvious question now is whether the issue will become a distraction for the Jets during the rest of training camp.
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"No, we focus on the task at hand. I think we got some good players in here," Perreault said. "I think for his case, you know, it might be even worse not to come play. If we start the year and it goes well, then you know, it feels like we don’t even need you."
Meanwhile, the club’s choice to remain tight-lipped about the situation was echoed by Jets newly appointed assistant coach Jamie Kompon, who's tending to media matters with head coach Paul Maurice away at the World Cup of Hockey with Team Europe.
"I’m not going to make a comment on that just because we’ve made our comment. That’s now in the hands of management," Kompon said. "I think that’s part of being a professional too. There’s distractions like we had yesterday. And another one today. Being a professional is just moving on. We got a group here and we’re moving on with it. We’ll see how it all plays out.
"The players knew about it, I think we all knew about it at a certain time when the news broke. There’s nothing that needs to be said from our standpoint."
Kurt Overhardt's statement regarding his client, Jacob Trouba
Our client, Jacob Trouba, will not be attending the Winnipeg Jets NHL training camp. Since May, we have been working with the Jets management in an effort to facilitate a trade of Jacob's rights. Both parties continue to work on this matter.
There has been no negotiation regarding the terms of a contract between our client and the Jets over the course of the last several months. The situation is not about money; it is solely about our client having the opportunity to realize his potential as a right shot NHL defenseman.
To the Jets credit, the club has two outstanding right shot veteran defenseman and our client simply wants the opportunity to have a greater role. As a consequence of the Jets depth on the right side, we believe it is in both parties’ best interest to facilitate a mutually advantageous trade.
Our client has nothing but respect for the people and City of Winnipeg, the Winnipeg Jets, its fans, management and ownership - our desire to get him moved has everything to do with opportunity. We will continue to work with the Jets in good faith to achieve this end.
Jets general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff's statement regarding Trouba
“We are aware of the statement issued by Kurt Overhardt regarding Jacob Trouba.
"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. 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.”