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Rangers steal Trouba for the 20th pick and Neal Pionk

June 17, 2019, 7:58 PM ET [338 Comments]
Jan Levine
New York Rangers Blogger • RSSArchiveCONTACT
From the press release: New York Rangers General Manager Jeff Gorton announced today that the team has acquired defenseman Jacob Trouba from the Winnipeg Jets in exchange for Neal Pionk and the 20th overall pick in the 2019 NHL Entry Draft. Per Elliotte Friedman: No conditional picks to Winnipeg if Trouba re-signs. Rangers were not allowed to talk to him. Eligible for extension on July 1.

Holy wow. Larry Brooks this weekend speculated that the cost for Trouba would be the #20 pick, Pavel Buchnevich and Nils Lundqvist. We all weighed in on our view of that price with many feeling that they didn’t New York to part with all those assets. Today, Gorton made all those discussions and consternation obsolete.

Say what you want about Trouba, as to whether he is a first pairing blue liner, but this move clearly upgrades the defense. The right side of the blue line now includes Trouba, Anthony DeAngelo, Kevin Shattenkirk and Adam Fox, not counting those that are in the system. Trouba will be an unrestricted free agent after the season, so there is a risk he will leave, but the possibility of locking him up long term and the talent he brings was clearly worth the 20th and Pionk.

Trouba made $5.5 million last year and is an RFA, so the expectation is that his salary will rise. His acquisition clearly puts Brendan Smith and/or Kevin Shattenkirk in the cross hairs of a buyout. Shattenkirk might remain if New York decides to slow play Fox and have him open the year in the AHL. But with the need to sign Buchnevich, Lemieux, etc. and possible pursuit of Artemi Panarin, Gorton likely will look to free up some cap space, which is why a buyout of either player or a deal of some salary, maybe Jimmy Vesey, could occur.

If Trouba does sign an extension with the Blueshirts, then even if New York could have selected one of the higher ranked defensemen with that pick, the deal is still a good one. Pionk struggles in his own zone landed him on the bench at times and reduced his stock in most of our eyes. Maybe the move out West and playing with the Jets will aloe to return at a minimum closer to the form he showed as a rookie. But including him with the 20 to get Trouba was a no-brainer.

If Gorton is able to add Panarin as a free agent and draft Kappo Kakko, all of a sudden the rebuild accelerated rapidly. Fine move by Gorton, a steal almost if you will. Winnipeg fans are likely not happy with Kevin Cheveldayoff right now. But Rangers’ fans are singing the praises to Gorton.
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