Trouba: ‘I can see myself being in New York for a long time’

It appears restricted free agent Jacob Trouba is ready to call the Big Apple his new home.

The New York Rangers acquired the rights to the defenseman from the Winnipeg Jets in exchange for blue-liner Neal Pionk and the 20th overall pick at the 2019 NHL Draft. In need of a new deal, Trouba sounds happy with his new landing spot.

"Everything is definitely on the table. I can see myself being in New York for a long time," Trouba said, according to NHL.com's Dan Rosen.

The 25-year-old cited New York as a preferred destination for family reasons, as his fiancee is preparing to become a doctor, according to the New York Post's Brett Cyrgalis.

Trouba also noted his "great relationship" with Rangers defenseman and longtime friend Brady Skjei as a plus in joining the club, according to USA Today's Vince Z. Mercogliano. The pair won a gold medal together with the U.S. at the World Under-18s in 2012.

The Rangers have a projected $19 million in cap space to work with this offseason and don't have any top players in need of a new deal outside of Trouba.

The 6-foot-3 rearguard is coming off a career season with the Jets, having recorded eight goals and 50 points in 82 games.

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Lightning sign Coburn to 2-year, $3.4M deal

The Tampa Bay Lightning and defenseman Braydon Coburn have agreed to a two-year contract with an average annual value of $1.7 million, the team announced Tuesday.

Coburn has spent the last five campaigns with the Lightning and contributed 23 points in 74 games during 2018-19, his highest total since joining the team.

The 34-year-old also averaged 16:07 of ice time while recording 62 blocks and 96 hits this past season. Additionally, he posted the second-highest possession rating at five-on-five among Lightning defensemen with a Corsi For of 52.75 (minimum 20 games played).

The Lightning now have $76.1 million committed to 18 players for next season, leaving $6.87 million in projected cap space, according to CapFriendly.

Tampa Bay still has four restricted free agents in line for new deals, including 41-goal-scorer Brayden Point. Veteran defensemen Dan Girardi and Anton Stralman are also set to become unrestricted free agents on July 1.

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Construction Season: Retooling the NHL’s Metropolitan Division teams

The NHL offseason is officially in progress and the draft begins Friday night. The question being asked around the league is: How can general managers use late June and early July to improve their clubs? What kind of tasks are on their to-do lists and how might they get creative? On Monday, we tackle the Metropolitan Division teams, Tuesday we'll zoom in on the Central, Wednesday we'll assess the Pacific, and Thursday we'll wrap up this series by focusing on the Atlantic.

Washington Capitals

Brian MacLellan didn't sit on his hands after the Stanley Cup was awarded last week. Wisely, the architect behind the 2018 Cup winner got to work.

Sure, it's only two medium-sized moves, but by acquiring Radko Gudas and signing Carl Hagelin to a four-year extension, MacLellan inched closer to solidifying his 2019-20 roster. After those transactions, Washington has $72.3 million committed to 17 players next season, according to CapFriendly, leaving roughly $10.7 million for six others.

The Washington Post / Getty Images

The Gudas deal, which sent fellow right-handed defenseman Matt Niskanen to Philadelphia, required some creativity from MacLellan. He convinced Flyers GM Chuck Fletcher to trade the younger player, who also has less term remaining on his contract, and to retain some of Gudas' salary. Those considerations are connected to future moves as the Capitals attempt to lock in some key restricted free agents.

Top priority is Jakub Vrana, fresh off a 47-point breakout season, who is the club's lone RFA without arbitration rights. Since money is tight, MacLellan may be forced to bridge the 23-year-old winger, perhaps with a two- or three-year deal.

Icon Sportswire / Getty Images

Forwards Andre Burakovsky, Chandler Stephenson, and Dmitrij Jaskin, plus defenseman Christian Djoos, round out the RFA list. Veterans Brett Connolly, Brooks Orpik, and Devante Smith-Pelly are all scheduled to hit unrestricted free agency on July 1. Connolly, a nice depth piece up front, will probably be the only UFA still on the roster this fall.

Big picture, the Caps - who hold only five picks in the draft, including the 25th overall selection - must keep one eye on the present and another on the near future. Nicklas Backstrom and Braden Holtby become UFAs next summer and will command big paydays, while Alex Ovechkin's next deal and the Seattle expansion draft loom in the 2021 offseason. - Matisz

2019 draft picks

Round 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
Pick 25 56 118 129 211

Pittsburgh Penguins

In uncertain times for the Penguins, one constant is Jim Rutherford's desire to prop open the club's Cup contention window for as long as possible. Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Phil Kessel, and Kris Letang are all 31 or older, and the club's prospect pool isn't particularly deep, so it won't be easy.

In May, the Pittsburgh general manager's very public Kessel trade proposal with the Wild fall through, and this past weekend, he bid farewell to defenseman Olli Maatta. In a salary dump, the two-time Cup champion was dealt to the Blackhawks for Dominik Kahun and a fifth-rounder. The Penguins now have $76.6 million on the books for 2019-20, with 18 of 23 NHL roster spots filled.

John Russell / Getty Images

After being swept in the first round by the Islanders, just about every name on the Pens' roster has been tossed into the rumor mill this spring - including No. 1 blue-liner Letang and top-six winger Patric Hornqvist. Kessel, who has a modified no-trade clause, will "probably" stay put after nixing the Wild trade, but never say never with Rutherford. The man loves to wheel and deal, and he's said that he'll look to improve team chemistry this summer.

Pittsburgh could buy out the remaining four years of Jack Johnson's contract, though devoting $1 million of the cap for the next eight years to a non-rostered player sounds troublesome. Buyouts are nice in theory, but there’s always a drawback - in this case, throwing away money despite a tight budget.

As for free agents, the Pens have only three RFAs: Zach Aston-Reese, Marcus Pettersson, and Teddy Blueger. Matt Cullen, who turns 43 in November, is a UFA, along with Garrett Wilson and Zach Trotman.

At the draft, the Pens are slated to pick 21st overall. They have six total selections, but none in the second and third rounds. - Matisz

2019 draft picks

Round 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
Pick 21 145 / 151 203 / 207

Columbus Blue Jackets

The possible mass exodus of Sergei Bobrovsky, Artemi Panarin, Matt Duchene, and Ryan Dzingel could leave Blue Jackets GM Jarmo Kekalainen with some gaping holes to fill, and he may be hard-pressed to fully compensate.

Backup goaltender Joonas Korpisalo has shown flashes but hasn't been consistently effective. That means Kekalainen likely needs to add a proven No. 1 goaltender in addition to making up for the loss of those key scorers.

Jamie Sabau / Getty Images

The goalie market will be relatively thin this summer, so unless Columbus wants to roll the dice on a veteran such as pending free agents Mike Smith or Brian Elliott (who wouldn't exactly be upgrades), the trade route is probably the best avenue to explore.

Kekalainen needs to get a netminder and some offense back in a sign-and-trade involving Bobrovsky and/or Panarin to ensure Columbus isn't left with nothing if or when those superstars leave. - Gold-Smith

2019 draft picks

Round 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
Pick - - 81 - - - 212

New York Rangers

The Rangers could make some big splashes this summer if they look to sign the likes of Panarin, and landing a big fish or two in free agency is undoubtedly tempting for GM Jeff Gorton.

However, that wouldn't fit with where New York is in its rebuild. Landing a superstar forward or defenseman would obviously accelerate the process, but the Rangers aren't close to competing for the Stanley Cup. Signing one or even two stars would be a waste considering how flawed the rest of the roster is.

Gorton should focus on the draft, where his club has four picks in the first two rounds, including No. 2 overall. Selecting Kaapo Kakko is a no-brainer, but adding him and several other promising prospects to the organization will better serve the team's future and will go a long way toward getting the Rangers back on the path to prolonged success. - Gold-Smith

2019 draft picks

Round 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
Pick 2 49 / 58 68 112 130 161 205

Philadelphia Flyers

For the first offseason in ages, the Flyers don't need to address their goaltending thanks to the emergence of Carter Hart. However, there are other areas of concern - like special teams. The Flyers' power play ranked in the bottom third of the NHL, and only five teams had a worse penalty kill.

Len Redkoles / Getty Images

On defense, trading away Gudas for Niskanen didn't make much sense, and neither would dealing Shayne Gostisbehere. Fletcher said he'd be aggressive this summer, but the GM should be improving the roster, not making it worse.

Fletcher didn't have much to lose by acquiring Kevin Hayes' rights from the Jets for a low pick before the start of the negotiating period, and the Flyers' top-six forward group would be all set if they can convince Hayes to sign. Regardless, Philadelphia should look to bolster its bottom six in free agency, and the team will need to add a center if Hayes opts to take his talents elsewhere. - Gold-Smith

2019 draft picks

Round 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
Pick 11 41 64 / 72 103 - 165 / 169 196 / 201

New York Islanders

The Islanders crossed one significant item off their to-do list by re-signing Jordan Eberle, but two critical tasks loom: They need to hand out new deals to Vezina Trophy finalist Robin Lehner and captain Anders Lee, both of whom are pending unrestricted free agents.

Icon Sportswire / Getty Images

Unlike their cross-town counterparts, this New York squad is looking to build off its surprising success and should absolutely make a push for Panarin. General manager Lou Lamoriello and head coach Barry Trotz transformed the Islanders into a defensive juggernaut, but they're a bottom-third goal-scoring club that could use a boost on the left wing.

If the Panarin pursuit doesn't pan out, Lamoriello would be wise to target Duchene. Whether it's through free agency or the trade market, upgrading the offense should be the New York GM's primary goal. - Gold-Smith

2019 draft picks

Round 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
Pick 23 57 - - 147 178 209

New Jersey Devils

Taylor Hall's future is of the utmost importance for Devils GM Ray Shero, who's able to start negotiating an extension with his all-world winger July 1.

That situation should command most of Shero's attention in early July and beyond, but he'll also have a lot on his plate at the draft. The Devils have the first overall pick, plus five other picks in the first three rounds.

In terms of free agency and trades, Shero has a lot of holes to fill on a lackluster New Jersey roster, but he should look to upgrade it with younger players who have upside rather than making a big, expensive splash.

The Devils likely won't be competitive in the near future, so stockpiling prospects and assets should be Shero's top priorities beyond securing the long-term services of the 2018 Hart Trophy winner. - Gold-Smith

2019 draft picks

Round 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
Pick 1 34 / 55 / 61 70 / 80 96 127 158 189

Carolina Hurricanes

Priority No. 1 for Hurricanes GM Don Waddell is getting leading scorer and restricted free agent Sebastian Aho's new deal done. Meanwhile, goalies Petr Mrazek and Curtis McElhinney, plus captain Justin Williams and forward Micheal Ferland, are among Carolina's pending UFAs.

Gregg Forwerck / Getty Images

The Hurricanes have plenty of cap flexibility with which to retain those players, but Waddell should also use it to add some secondary scoring from outside the organization.

Also, considering Carolina's defensive depth, now is truly the time to trade a blue-liner for a productive forward. If the right swap isn't there, going after Panarin or settling for a proven playmaker like Gustav Nyquist in free agency would be a prudent backup plan. - Gold-Smith

2019 draft picks

Round 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
Pick 28 36 / 37 / 59 90 121 152 181 / 183 216

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Jets GM after Trouba trade: ‘We’ve got a lot of balls in the air’

Winnipeg Jets general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff made one of the biggest trades in club history when he sent Jacob Trouba to the New York Rangers for Neal Pionk and a first-round pick on Monday. However, the veteran executive hinted that his club is far from done.

"We've got a lot of moving parts or balls in the air," he told TSN's Frank Seravalli.

CapFriendly projects the Jets to have $25.4 million in cap space this summer, but many free agents are on expiring contracts.

Player (Pos.) Status
Patrik Laine (F) RFA
Kyle Connor (F) RFA
Andrew Copp (F) RFA
Brandon Tanev (F) UFA
Par Lindholm (F) UFA
Matt Hendricks (F) UFA
Neal Pionk (D) RFA
Tyler Myers (D) UFA
Ben Chiarot (D) UFA
Nathan Beaulieu (D) RFA
Joe Morrow (D) RFA
Bogdan Kiselevich (D) UFA

Even with Erik Karlsson coming off the market on Monday, this free-agent class - both unrestricted and restricted - projects to be one of the best in recent memory.

"This is probably an unprecedented time of communication between general managers," said Cheveldayoff, who's been the Jets' GM since 2011.

San Jose Sharks general manager Doug Wilson added that there's a lot of chatter, according to Stephen Whyno of The Associated Press.

In addition to the Trouba deal, there have already been two other notable trades made during the past few days. The Washington Capitals dealt Matt Niskanen to the Philadelphia Flyers for Radko Gudas on Friday, and the Pittsburgh Penguins sent Olli Maatta to the Chicago Blackhawks for Dominik Kahun and a fifth-rounder on Saturday.

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Jets trade Trouba to Rangers for Pionk, 1st-rounder

The Winnipeg Jets traded defenseman Jacob Trouba to the New York Rangers for blue-liner Neal Pionk and the 20th overall pick in the 2019 NHL Draft, the team announced Monday.

Trouba is a restricted free agent. The trade doesn't include any conditional picks if he re-signs with New York, and the Rangers weren't allowed to speak to him prior to the deal about an extension, according to Sportsnet's Elliotte Friedman.

The first-round pick in this deal was initially owned by the Jets but was sent to the Rangers prior to the trade deadline to acquire Kevin Hayes, who is a pending unrestricted free agent. The Jets flipped Hayes' rights to the Philadelphia Flyers on June 3 for a 2019 fifth-round pick.

Here's what each team ends up with as a result of the two trades:

Rangers receive Jets receive
D Jacob Trouba D Neal Pionk
F Brendan Lemieux 2019 5th-rounder (from Flyers)

This trade marks the end of a two-year saga during which the Jets and Trouba's camp butted heads on more than one occasion in contract negotiations.

After Trouba's entry-level contract expired before the 2016-17 campaign, he didn't sign his next pact until over a month into the season, agreeing to a two-year bridge deal. When that expired, he and the Jets needed arbitration to settle on a one-year, $5.5-million contract last summer. The two sides were reportedly $3 million apart before the hearing.

Trouba, 25, enjoyed a career year in 2018-19. The 6-foot-3, 202-pound right-handed defenseman registered 50 points in 82 games while averaging nearly 23 minutes per night.

Pionk, a 6-foot, 186-pound right-handed blue-liner, is coming off his first full NHL season. The 23-year-old recorded six goals and 26 points in 73 games while averaging just over 21 minutes per night.

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Wild’s Zucker: ‘I want to be somewhere I’m wanted’

Paul Fenton has wasted no time putting his fingerprints on the Minnesota Wild since being named the third general manager in franchise history on May 21, 2018.

Nino Niederreiter, Charlie Coyle, and Mikael Granlund - all considered to be part of the team's core under the previous regime - have been dealt during the past year. And all signs indicate forward Jason Zucker will be next.

A deal to send Zucker to the Calgary Flames fell through just before the trade deadline in February. Last month, a reported move that would've sent him and Victor Rask to the Pittsburgh Penguins for Phil Kessel and Jack Johnson didn't happen because Kessel used his no-trade clause to nix the deal.

"I could be somewhere else before the award show (on Wednesday)," Zucker, who's nominated for the King Clancy Award, joked to The Athletic's Michael Russo. "I mean, honestly, I can be traded at any moment ... if it's going to happen, obviously."

Zucker signed a five-year extension in July, which was one of Fenton's first moves. He's expressed his love for Minnesota and a desire to stay with the Wild despite the constant trade rumors.

"That's what makes it the hardest because we're all great friends," Zucker said, referring to the teammates who reached out when the trades that fell through made headlines. "And I mean, as far as I know, they don't want me to leave and I don't want to, but again, that's kind of part of the business. But I will say, I do want to be somewhere I'm wanted.”

Zucker said he'll feel no animosity toward Fenton, regardless of what happens, but added that he doesn't exactly see eye to eye with the GM.

"I'm going to stay out of it because realistically, I mean Paul's never treated me poorly," Zucker said. "I have respected Paul in his position and what he does. Can I say fully that I agree with everything? No, but I can say that about any position, any person in the world I wouldn't totally agree with everything. And most people would say that about me, and that's just the way it works."

Zucker, 27, set career highs with 33 goals and 64 points in 2017-18 but tallied just 21 goals and 42 points last year. His contract carries a $5.5-million cap hit through the 2022-23 season and a 10-team no-trade list that kicks in July 1.

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Bruins GM: Trading Krug would require a ‘unique opportunity’

Boston Bruins general manager Don Sweeney is not eager to trade defenseman Torey Krug, but didn't rule out the possibility of it happening.

"We have an opportunity on July 1 to open up talks (with Krug), and some of it will be dictated by the RFA market and some internal things will dictate the timing of those conversations," Sweeney told NBC Sports' Joe Haggerty. "If somebody blew us away (with a trade offer) then every player has to be looked at in that way. From an organizational standpoint, it would be a disservice if you don’t.

"It would take a pretty unique opportunity for us to part with Torey. We believe that he’s in the fabric of our group and he’s kind of that next wave of leadership behind the guys that have carried the mantle for a long time. He’s an important part of our club."

Krug will be an unrestricted free agent after next season and could sign an extension as early as July 1. He's in line for a sizable pay raise from his current $5.25-million cap hit. The 28-year-old blue-liner had 53 points in 64 games during the regular season and added 18 more points in 24 postseason contests.

The Bruins have $14.3 million in projected cap space this summer, per CapFriendly. However, Charlie McAvoy, Brandon Carlo, and Danton Heinen are now RFAs after the expiration of their entry-level contracts. Marcus Johansson, Noel Acciari, and Steven Kampfer are UFAs.

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