Rangers’ captain seems safe from potential buyout despite 2023-24 struggles

May 22, 2024; New York, New York, USA; New York Rangers defenseman Jacob Trouba (8) controls the puck against the Florida Panthers during the third period of game one of the Eastern Conference Final of the 2024 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Despite speculation surrounding a potential buyout, it now seems unlikely that New York Rangers defenseman and captain Jacob Trouba will be on the move this summer. According to Larry Brooks of The New York Post, “There is no indication that the Blueshirts are contemplating a buyout of Jacob Trouba.”

The Rangers do not seem interested in buying out Jacob Trouba’s contract

Feb 24, 2024; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; New York Rangers defenseman Jacob Trouba (8) reaches for the puck against New York Rangers center Adam Edstrom (84) in the second period at Wells Fargo Center. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Ross-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Kyle Ross-USA TODAY Sports

The NHL’s buyout period opens on Wednesday and lasts until June 30. The Rangers could potentially save $4 million in salary cap space this summer if they were to buy Trouba out of his contract. However, according to Brooks and his league-wide informants, the Rangers don’t seem interested in making such a move.

Brooks indicates that it’s Trouba’s leadership and “menacing” playstyle that will prevent the Rangers from buying him out of his contract:

“Ryan Lindgren, an impending restricted free agent, is physical. Braden Schneider, an impending restricted free agent, is physical. Neither, though, is menacing. You know who is menacing? Trouba is menacing. He’s the danger.”

While Trouba may be looked at as “the danger,” some Rangers fans might view him as the biggest danger to their own team. He was on the ice for 47% of the goals that New York conceded during the final two rounds of the postseason.

Trouba could still be on the move this offseason

New York Rangers defenseman Jacob Trouba (8) looks on against the Philadelphia Flyers in the third period at Wells Fargo Center
Credit: Kyle Ross-USA TODAY Sports

Despite their reported lack of interest in buying out Trouba’s contract, the Rangers could still look to move on from the veteran defenseman via trade this offseason.

Per Brooks, “sources are divided on whether the team will seek to move the captain after he submits his 15 team no-trade list on July 1.”

Trouba did not live up to the expectations of an $8-million defenseman during the postseason. However, to his credit, he was playing through an ankle injury that likely impaired his abilities.

Throughout the postseason, Trouba was a defensive liability for the Rangers. However, he was still a key component of the team’s success on the penalty kill. Per Brooks, Trouba had the sixth-best goals-against per 60:00 on the penalty kill for defensemen with 175:00 minutes, 5.47.

While the impact that Trouba has on this team can be debated, replacing him might be easier said than done. He has been the Rangers’ team captain for two years now and has proven himself as quite the leader in the locker room. There might be room for improvement defensively, but trading away the team captain could ruffle some feathers and have a bit of a domino effect on the locker room if general manager Chris Drury is not careful.

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