The Jacob Trouba rumour mill is a gift which keeps on giving. The latest smoke surrounding the Winnipeg Jets defenceman comes from both ESPN's Jimmy Murphy and CSNNE's Joe Haggerty, with the latter stating how Boston may "come up with an offer sheet that totals a minimum of $47 million for Trouba’s services."
Aside from attempting to craft a deal substantial enough that Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff would not match, the Bruins hands are tied when it comes to what offer sheets they can actually extend. As per General Fanager:
For Jacob Trouba to sign an offer sheet worth between $5,632,847 and $9,388,080 AAV, the Bruins would need to be in possession of their 2017 2nd and 3rd round picks. However, those picks currently have different owners thanks to the Lee Stempniak and Zac Rinaldo trades, respectively. Unless GM Don Sweeney reacquires them, this leads to one of two conclusions: the Boston Bruins are about to do something absolutely insane, or this rumour is hogwash.
An average annual value of $9,388,080 or greater would make Jacob Trouba the league leader among NHL defenceman, a position currently held by P.K. Subban and his $9 mil AAV. If it were the $9.388 mil "minimum", the AAV would rank sixth among all NHL players, behind Kane, Toews, Kopitar, Ovechkin and Malkin. We're playing with the big boys now.
There is one offer sheet wrinkle working in Boston's favour here, and it's this:
For offer sheet purposes, AAV is determined by dividing the total compensation offered by the lesser of the length of the contract, or by 5. For contracts longer than 5 years, this will result in a higher AAV than expected. Example: a 6 year offer sheet worth $20 million total, would be considered an AAV of $4 million
Haggerty takes this rule and applies it to the Trouba situation:
...a 7 year offer sheet worth $49 million total, would be considered an AAV of $9.8 million ($49 million divided by 5) for offer sheet compensation purposes. That means the Bruins could make an offer sheet to Trouba in the $7-8 million per season neighborhood on a seven year deal...
In this case, Boston is able to manipulate the offer sheet with term to accomplish multiple ends. The Bruins extend Trouba a lucrative contract, one still large enough to dissuade being matched, while working the AAV formula into an offer sheet range they can actually offer. Shaping a deal to allow for trading four 1st rounders is an odd thing indeed, but let's just nod and smile at this point.
If there is legitimacy to this rumour, four 1st round picks could be a king's ransom for Jacob Trouba, especially given Boston's current state. Zdeno Chara is 39. Loui Eriksson will be a UFA in less than 48 hours, Torey Krug is due a pay raise this summer and Brad Marchand an even larger one the next. Add in how Patrice Bergeron and David Krejci are now members of the age 30+ club, plus a good but not great prospect pool, and the idea of four Bruins 1st round picks is rather appealing. While the aforementioned players (not to mention goalies Tuukka Rask and Malcolm Subban) likely keep Boston from bottoming out, a future of more ~14th place finishes seems quite believable. There are worse returns than four Charlie McAvoys.
Though UFAs such as Alex Goligoski and Keith Yandle are off the market, shorter term options in Brian Campbell and Dan Hamhuis remain. Should Chevy prefer a trade over free agency, the addition of Boston's picks allows for added asset flexibility. Whatever the price for Cam Fowler, Matt Dumba, Dmitry Orlov, etc., it's not going to be four 1st rounders. And should Winnipeg simply err on the side of internal option Josh Morrissey, the absence of Trouba and Morrissey's exempt status solves one expansion draft headache.
This could be (and likely is) simply an attempt to rock the boat and pry Trouba loose with a less exacting price. But considering his contract status as an RFA without arbitration rights, and a market desperate for top-end defencemen, the Jets are in the driver's seat here. Even if an offer doesn't quite reach the "four 1st round picks" gold standard, Winnipeg should do quite well in any transaction involving Jacob Trouba.