Jacob Trouba Traded to Rangers; Jets Acquire Neal Pionk, 20th Pick in NHL Draft

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistJune 18, 2019

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - MARCH 18:  Jacob Trouba #8 of the Winnipeg Jets waits for a pass during a 3-1 win over the Los Angeles Kings at Staples Center on March 18, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
Harry How/Getty Images

The New York Rangers acquired Jacob Trouba from the Winnipeg Jets on Monday, the team announced via Twitter.

The Jets received Neal Pionk and the 20th overall selection in the 2019 NHL draft in return. The pick was originally Winnipeg's and sent to New York as part of a trade package to get Kevin Hayes in February.

Most agreed the Rangers walked away the winners from the deal:

Mike Corcoran @MikeCorcoranNHL

I honestly thought the return on the Trouba trade was from a fake account. That is...not good for the Jets.

dom luszczyszyn @domluszczyszyn

TRADE Rangers: Jacob Trouba Jets: Neal Pionk and a 1st Trouba is a top-pairing defenseman. Pionk is... not that, despite his usage. https://t.co/nKB25ckpcB

Charlie O'Connor @charlieo_conn

I didn't think Winnipeg was going to get nearly as much back for Trouba as their fans seemed to think they would, but man, Pionk is just not very good. I guess the Jets are much higher on him than I am.

New York owns the second overall pick and will likely select Finnish forward Kaapo Kakko. Since the Rangers are guaranteed to come away with a talented young player in the first round, they had more flexibility to move a first-rounder that wasn't theirs to begin with.

And that's before factoring in the gap between Trouba and Pionk.

Trouba was 13th among defensemen in points, scoring eight goals and notching 42 assists in 82 games last season. Pionk, meanwhile, had six goals and 20 assists in 73 appearances.

The 25-year-old's contract was undoubtedly a factor in Winnipeg's decision to trade him. He's a restricted free agent, and re-signing him was far from a guarantee when the Jets have to consider new deals for Patrik Laine, Kyle Connor, Tyler Myers and many others this offseason.

Pionk is also a restricted free agent but will come with a much smaller price since he earned almost $1.8 million annually over the past two years compared to $5.5 million for Trouba in 2018-19.

Still, one assumed Winnipeg had enough leverage to extract more value in a Trouba trade.

Murat Ates @WPGMurat

That Trouba wanted out is no secret. That his UFA payday is around the corner is no secret, either. But there are a lot of teams in the NHL who could use a 25 year old, top pairing RD with strong 5-on-5 offence and defence. WPG will have had no shortage of suitors. (2/x)

The San Jose Sharks announced Monday they re-signed Erik Karlsson to an eight-year extension, taking the best free-agent defenseman off the market.

ESPN.com's Greg Wyshynski and Chris Peters mentioned the Rangers as a potential destination for Karlsson. Given that option went, getting Trouba—at a pretty low fee, no less—is a pretty good consolation prize for New York.