Training camp has started and Jacob Trouba has not been signed. While this is not the end of the world, it should cause some concern for the Winnipeg Jets because even with Trouba their defence can be suspect at best. What does Trouba not being with the Jets mean? The defence will lose one of the few mobile members and while Trouba makes some stupid mistakes, it also loses one of the more offensively minded players on the blue line.
Without Trouba, there is the potential for something ghastly like Tyler Myers and Mark Stuart or Brian Strait and anyone. The potential pairing when the defencemen are: Dustin Byfuglien, Tobias Enstrom, Tyler Myers, Ben Chiarot, Mark Stuart, Paul Postma (oh yeah, he’s still a Jet), Brian Strait, and Julien Melchiori. It is bad. What is worse is those who watched the Penticton Prospect Tournament said that the Jets defensive prospects were also not good at moving the puck up the ice. This leaves the Jets in a bit of a pickle defensively, especially if Trouba is not with the team. So what does not Trouba mean to the Jets? Doom and gloom.
There is hope though! While Kevin Cheveldayoff might not be talking about Jacob Trouba to the media and who knows if he is talking with Trouba’s agent, he might be looking for other solutions to the Jets complete void of good defencemen who play regular minutes. If Trouba still does not have a contract as the regular season approaches, the Jets should look outside of the organization for another puck mover and should stop firmly at former Calgary Flames blue-liner and current free agent Jakub Nakladal.
Nakladal has not played a lot of minutes in the NHL. What he has shown though is he can play good hockey in the limited minutes he has played. As noted Flames blogger MikeFAIL has written and explained, Nakladal is a player who excels in softer minutes, especially in terms of zone starts. If the Jets were prudent they would sign him with the idea that he could eventually play on the third pair and second unit power play while Trouba and X play on the second pair. He might even be able to handle the second pairing, he has just never played there before. It would be worth a look.
Postma should also not be overlooked on the Jets defence at any time, but without Trouba he should be seen as a key piece. The other defencemen after Enstrom and Byfuglien are all bad at moving the puck. When playing, Postma can move the puck decently. Postma should be tested this pre-season to see if he can handle playing about 20 minutes a night on the second pair, because that might be where the Jets need him to play to start the year.
All of this could change in a moment if Trouba signs. Until that happens, the Jets are in a tough spot on defence. They should look both inside the organization at Paul Postma and outside the organization at Jakub Nakladal to full the void until Trouba is signed. If they do this, the Jets could very well improve their defence for the entire season. If they do nothing, a tire fire might best describe the Jets defence again.