Fixing The Defense Continues To Be Complicated For Jeff Gorton

The Jacob Trouba suspicious re-signing has blown on the dying embers of that trade rumor a little.

I was of the mind yesterday that this little re-signing ended the rumors, but I've been talked into that potentially not being the case. Apparently Kyle Turris -- who shares an agent -- did the same to get himself out of Arizona a few years back.

On Twitter I did a little survey to see who people would rather move for Trouba: J.T. Miller or Brady Skjei.

The responses varied from me being the devil to Skjei to Miller to Chris Kreider (?).

Here's the thing, though: Something is going to happen sooner rather than later. It might not be Trouba, it might not be a big splash but something is coming.

Jooris was injured back on October 26th and is currently on IR. When he comes off, the Rangers will have two healthy forwards with no clear spot in the lineup. Logic would dictate that’s not something Alain Vigneault will want for the rest of the year.

There’s some complications here, too. Jooris reportedly has an offer in Switzerland if he doesn’t stick in the NHL — akin to what happened with Nathan Gerbe. Lindberg most certainly wouldn’t pass through waivers -- not that he should ever be waived — despite Dylan McIlrath miraculously making it through.

Perhaps Trouba did sign just to help facilitate a move. Perhaps Miller or Skjei would be enough to pry him away from Winnipeg. Miller’s salary is oddly similar to that of Trouba’s and it would make sense for the two sides to make such a swap — especially with Miller’s explosion.

I was a big proponent of a Miller for Trouba swap earlier this year. It makes sense from the natural standpoint of the Rangers having too many forwards and wanting to deal from an area of strength, and Miller being a big asset to get back for the Jets. I’ve since backed off that claim a bit, since Miller has been so good, and truly does look poised to break out this year (if he hasn’t done so already).

With Trouba signed his value skyrockets again; especially on that type of a bridge deal that’s probably discounted by more than half of his true value.

On the podcast Hockey Stat Miner brought up a really good point: There’s going to be a lot of teams this summer who can’t protect all of their defenseman who also don’t want to lose those defenseman for nothing. It makes sense for them to EVENTUALLY move said defenseman for forwards/assets to protect themselves.

Anaheim — who the Rangers have been linked to a bit this year -- are a good target team for this. So is Calgary.

If the Rangers can make a move for a top-four defenseman (Sami Vatanen maybe) who doesn’t cost them Miller or Skjei that might need to be shifted to the top priority. Lindberg is young enough and has put together a good enough body of work to be worthwhile, and the Rangers do have other assets they can include in any deals. It might not be enough to make a big splash, but it might be enough to shore up the defense and leave the current offense fully untouched.

That might make the most sense. So might sitting things out until the trade deadline -- although the longer you wait the more expensive things usually become. The Rangers really don’t have the ability to go all in yet again, but they can make a few savvy moves that might make an enormous difference.

My guess is the Rangers don’t do anything rash, unless they think they can get Trouba and don’t want to wait for other teams to make a move. Honestly, if you’re going to splurge there’s worse things to spend valuable assets on than a 22-year-old already top-pairing defenseman.

I doubt that happens anytime soon, though. Fixing the defense might be an easy thing to see, but doing it is far more complicated.