Jacob Trouba’s decision against signing a long-term deal with the Winnipeg Jets was well documented. Less so was his primary reason why.
Trouba revealed that his fiancée’s aspirations to become a doctor played a role in his desire to play in the United States. On Monday, he was traded to the New York Rangers.
On Tuesday, he repeated what he told the Winnipeg Sun. The 25-year-old Trouba says Kelly Tyson’s career is equally important.
“Everyone kind of views me, and I guess most athletes, just as athletes, but there’s other goals in life that I have,” he said. “I want to be a husband and a father and all that stuff, and her career is important and she’s worked extremely hard. I want to see the best for her as much as she wants to see the best for me.”
Trouba, an offensive-minded defenceman, played the past six seasons with the Jets while Tyson went to school in Sydney, Australia, and South Florida.
He had high-profile protracted contract talks in 2016 before signing for two years and then a one-year deal that expired after this season.
Jets general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff said he knew he’d probably have to trade Trouba when the two sides agreed there was no chance at a long-term contract. Teams around the league understood Trouba’s situation amid trade talks.
“He had some personal things that he wanted to see come to fruition,” Cheveldayoff said on Monday after receiving 23-year-old defenceman Neal Pionk and the 20th overall pick in the coming NHL draft in exchange for Trouba in the trade. “And, obviously, with one year to unrestricted free agency, he had that prerogative moving forward.”
Trouba still needs a new contract as a restricted free agent, and Rangers GM Jeff Gorton said he and agent Kurt Overhardt agreed to discuss that this week. Gorton said he has a ballpark idea of what it will take to sign Trouba to a lengthy contract.
Trouba has 179 points in 408 regular-season NHL games. Last season, the right-handed shooter had eight goals and 42 assists and averaged just less than 23 minutes a game. He’ll likely see more playing time with the Rangers.
He didn’t want to commit to anything in the hours after the first trade of his professional career, but Trouba sounded open to the possibility of staying with the Rangers for a while.
“Everything’s definitely on the table,” he said. “I could see myself being in New York for a long time.”
Trouba didn’t have any trade protections, so Winnipeg could have traded him anywhere. But with the ability to hit the unrestricted free-agent market a year from now, Trouba held considerable power over where he wanted to play.
It didn’t have to be New York, but it doesn’t hurt.
“New York, obviously, is a great place for her, great place for a lot of things,” Trouba said. “That was definitely important to me – both of us.”