Vancouver Canucks: Jacob Trouba is an ideal trade target

WINNIPEG, MB - APRIL 18: Jacob Trouba #8 of the Winnipeg Jets takes part in the pre-game warm up prior to NHL action against the St. Louis Blues in Game Five of the Western Conference First Round during the 2019 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at the Bell MTS Place on April 18, 2019 in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. (Photo by Darcy Finley/NHLI via Getty Images)
WINNIPEG, MB - APRIL 18: Jacob Trouba #8 of the Winnipeg Jets takes part in the pre-game warm up prior to NHL action against the St. Louis Blues in Game Five of the Western Conference First Round during the 2019 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at the Bell MTS Place on April 18, 2019 in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. (Photo by Darcy Finley/NHLI via Getty Images) /
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With help needed on the blue line, the Vancouver Canucks should explore trading for Winnipeg Jets defenceman Jacob Trouba.

The Vancouver Canucks need to prioritize rebuilding a defence that lacked production at both ends of the ice in 2018-19, because Quinn Hughes isn’t going to solve the problem all by himself.

General manager Jim Benning has to try and work out an extension with Alexander Edler, a pending UFA. Even if Edler comes back to Vancouver in 2019-20, Benning’s work in fixing this blue line is far from done.

He could certainly use a another smooth skater and puck-moving blueliner. I explained here why  the Canucks should explore a trade for Nashville Predators star P.K. Subban, and what a deal could look like.

But if there’s nothing there, then Benning should shift his focus towards Winnipeg Jets standout blueliner Jacob Trouba, considering that the 25-year-old might be too rich for general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff to return.

Before the 2016-17 season, Trouba requested a trade from the Jets, but he eventually ended his holdout and signed a two-year deal to stay in Winnipeg. Trouba (a pending RFA) is now entering his prime and deserves a massive raise, so it’s unlikely that he’ll sign another short-term bridge contract.

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The Jets have to re-sign young stars Patrik Laine and Kyle Connor, and both are going to come at hefty prices. So when you add everything up, a Trouba trade seems likely — and the Canucks need to get in on the sweepstakes.

Trouba broke out this season with a career-high 50 points; his personal best was previously 33. He’s also registered 100 or more blocked shots in each of his first six NHL seasons, and Trouba owns a respectable 50.6 career Corsi For percentage.

Now, Winnipeg is built to win now, so it’s unlikely they’d want a package centering around draft picks (unless it’s Vancouver’s No. 10 selection this year) and unproven prospects. They’d want roster players that can help the team compete for a Stanley Cup immediately.

Olli Julevi could be a starting point in negotiations The Jets lack reliable shutdown defencemen. They have too many puck-movers on the back end, so maybe Chris Tanev would draw interest? Winnipeg might want a young roster player with potential like Jake Virtanen. Imagine if he was paired with Mark Scheifele.

Adding Trouba to a core full of speedy and skilled young players would take Vancouver to another level. He isn’t as sound defensively, but Trouba brings plenty of offensive upside and would form a dream pairing with Hughes.

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The Canucks would probably have to move out two or three key assets here, but a guy like Trouba is worth it. Elias Pettersson, Bo Horvat and Brock Boeser are only entering their primes. Hughes will be ready to make an impact right away. This is where Benning has to take his chance and try to add a player like Trouba if he’s available in a trade