The Winnipeg Jets have a rather full right side when it comes to their defence. With Dustin Byfuglien and Tyler Myers eating up the lions share of minutes it was difficult to find Jacob Trouba meaningful time on the ice in the third D pairing. Jets bench boss Paul Maurice flipped Trouba to the left side last year and there has been plenty of speculation about what the plan would be for the 2016-17 season. Who, along with Tobias Enstrom, would be able to eat up the time for the Jets on that left side?
It appears we finally have our answer as coach Paul Maurice took a break from helping coach Team Europe at the World Cup of Hockey to discuss with the guys on Hustler and Lawless, among other topics, what side of the ice Jacob Trouba would play on.
Gary Lawless: “Do you think he’s ready to do that (play left side)? Is that the way you would plan to deploy him this year? And if not, how come?”
Coach Maurice: “So the answer would just be yes. Once you get to that certain age where you are demanding, by your play more minutes, then we have to find you those more minutes. The biggest hole that he fits best over on the left. We can move one of the other two right handed gentlemen over, but as you get older, you get into your career, it gets harder to make that change. Jake is a pretty versatile guy. There were some growing pains with it last year early but I thought he improved on it, I think he will continue to get better at it. I’m careful about what I say because you have got to earn it by your play. If you’re not playing worthy of playing big minutes then you’re not going to get them. I fully believe he will and he deserves them. He played 22 minutes last year which is for me, right about right for that age. He’s going to play 24 or 25 this year. He’s stronger. He looks stronger. So that’s the normal progression. Everybody wants everything to happen faster. I get that. I really like where Jake’s at, I really like him as a player and I like having him on my team. We will have to find him more minutes to get him on the ice more to continue that development. But we’ve got a way to do that.”
Following the Trouba talk Gary asked coach Maurice about the differences on switching to your opposite side for a defenceman coach Maurice explained it. (The full chat with the Jets bench boss is below. The Trouba question begins at the 4:24. Following that discussion you can then listen to coach Maurice’s explanation as to the difficulty of switching to your opposite side which starts at the 6:17 mark).