Does Jacob Trouba deserve a suspension for his hit on Evan Rodrigues?

NHL: Stanley Cup Playoffs-Florida Panthers at New York Rangers
Does Jacob Trouba deserve a suspension for his hit on Evan Rodrigues?

New York Rangers captain Jacob Trouba leveled Florida Panthers forward Evan Rodrigues during the second period of Sunday’s Game 3 in Sunrise, Florida at Amerant Bank Arena. The call on-ice was a two-minute minor penalty for elbowing, despite Rodrigues being visibly shaken up.

The Panthers’ training staff helped Rodrigues off the ice, who left the game but returned to play in the third period. Meanwhile, the Panthers’ bench called for a major penalty and a game misconduct. The replay showed Trouba laying into Rodrigues with an elbow extension, catching him on the head as the latter crossed the slot towards the front of the net.

So, the question begs: Does Jacob Trouba deserve a suspension for this hit on Rodrigues? Similar plays have resulted in one or two game suspensions. Given that this wouldn't be Trouba's first suspension this season for an elbowing incident and that he is a repeat offender, a suspension of three to five games could be warranted.

During the regular season, Trouba's teammate Matt Rempe got a four-game suspension for an illegal elbow on the Devils’ Jonas Siegenthaler, following a major penalty and game misconduct. In February 2023, Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Erik Cernak was suspended for two games for needlessly elbowing then-Sabres’ captain Kyle Okposo during a three-on-three overtime period.

This was not the first time Jacob Trouba was suspended for elbowing

Suspending Jacob Trouba for his hit on Rodrigues would hardly be something new. He got a two-game suspension in January of this year for an illegal elbow on the Vegas Golden Knights’ Pavel Dorofeyev.

The incident occurred following a faceoff, in which Dorofeyev had not yet made contact with the puck. As Trouba attempted to follow the puck, he caught Dorofeyev with an intentional elbow, injuring the Golden Knights’ player.

The league has been vocal about reducing these incidents in order to enhance player safety, so it remains to be seen whether the league will act on Sunday's incident accordingly.

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