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McKenzie weighs in on contract dynamics of key RFA defensemen

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NHL Insider Bob McKenzie was discussing the Jacob Trouba trade request situation at length on Edmonton’s TSN 1260 Monday morning, which also included a look at what sort of financial considerations there may be contract-wise.

“At the time we heard the rumors last spring – April and May – that Jacob Trouba wanted out of Winnipeg, we also heard the rumors that his ask was in excess of $7 million a year,” said McKenzie. “Now, we didn’t have that confirmed. We didn’t know that for sure. Just as we didn’t know if the rumors of him wanting out were absolutely, 100 percent, dead-set certain.

“Now we do know that the rumors we heard last spring of him wanting out were 100 percent, dead-set certain because his agent said they’d been working with the Jets since May to try and make a trade happen. We still don’t know if the $7 million-plus, $7.5 million – those were the numbers that were being tossed around on the grapevine that we heard Jacob Trouba was asking of the Winnipeg Jets , if he was going to do an extension.

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“So then the question becomes – if those numbers were, in fact, asked for – and we don’t have a confirmation, as I said – were they artificially high because he wanted to force his way out of Winnipeg. That if you ask for enough money and you know they’re not going to pay it to you, and the team thinks that this is going to be a difficult – if not impossible – guy to sign, does that help you in your desire to play elsewhere.

“So we won’t know, if he gets traded somewhere, what’s it going to be worth? It’s a fascinating thing right now because if you look at the restricted free agent market, there are similar defensemen to Trouba who are also without contracts. You’ve got Rasmus Ristolainen in Buffalo and you’ve got Hampus Lindholm in Anaheim. And right now, neither one of them is close to signing because there’s a very wide gulf between what the Sabres with Ristolainen and the Ducks with Lindholm want to do.

“I’m going to be writing about this on TSN.ca today, but at the low end of the spectrum you’ve got the Morgan Rielly and Seth Jones contracts – $5 million a year and $5.4 million a year. At the high end, you’ve got the Aaron Ekblad contract at $7.5 million. So I’m not saying that Ristolainen and Lindholm – and maybe Trouba falls into that category as well – I’m not saying they necessarily expect to get $7.5 million or even $7 million. But what number between – and I’m betting the clubs like Buffalo and Anaheim and whoever gets Trouba – are looking at him more like, ‘Okay, there’s Rielly and Seth Jones between 5 and 5.4. So what number between the low 5s and the mid-7s should these guys – Lindholm, Ristolainen and Trouba – get?’

“And I’m guessing that a lot of those players themselves would say, ‘Well into the 6s’ and I bet their clubs are saying, ‘Right around where Jones and Rielly are.’

“So that’s kind of the dividing line and the battle lines that are drawn one some of these RFA defensemen.”

Source: TSN 1260/ Transcript: Nichols

McKenzie weighs in on contract dynamics of key RFA defensemen

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