While there is disappointment in some corners that the Winnipeg Jets selected Jacob Trouba with the ninth overall pick in the draft on Friday night due to the availability of some highly skilled and highly rated forwards (Forsberg, Grigorenko and Faksa jump immediately to mind), Jets fans need to face the reality that Trouba is now part of the organization and see what the new guy brings to the table.
Trouba is a 6’2" defenseman from Michigan that has played the last couple seasons for the U.S. National Team Development Program. He has international experience at the World Juniors in 2012 and at the World Under-18 Championships in 2011 and 2012.
In his two seasons playing for the USNDT in the USHL, Trouba put up decent if not overwhelming offensive numbers. In 2011-12 he had seven points in 31 games, and last season he improved to eighteen points in 22 games. At the World Juniors he had two assists in six games.
Trouba is headed to the University of Michigan in the fall where it can be expected that he will play at least two seasons. Kitchener owns his rights in the Ontario Hockey League, but all indications are that he is heading to Ann Arbor. Some people are concerned about Trouba’s development prospects at Michigan. Danl1988 linked to this old story in yesterday’s draft thread where Kings’ GM Dean Lombardi unloads on Wolverines coach Red Berenson for his coaching tactics while Jack Johnson was at Michigan. Hopefully Trouba is able to develop disciplined play in spite of the environment.
Trouba is a big guy already at age eighteen (196 lbs) and he plays a physical game. He often looks for the big hit. One of the video clips TSN loved to play to emphasize his physical play was a hit he made as an eleven year-old where he completely obliterated an opponent (it is kind of odd to see TSN panelists drool over a hit thrown by a little kid that in today’s NHL would probably elicit debate regarding whether it was a clean hit due to the hyper-awareness of concussions, but I digress). He is an imposing player on the ice due to his combination of size and mean-spiritedness.
In terms of skill, Trouba is a good skater and he has a heavy slapshot from the point. He is not a whiz handling the puck, but he makes good decisions passing the puck. A comparable current NHLer may be the Winnipeg Jets' own Zach Bogosian.
The Jets currently do not have a need on defence, but veterans Tobias Enstrom and Ron Hainsey are both unrestricted free agents at the end of the 2012-13 season. Despite the lack of an opening on the depth chart right now, by the time Trouba is ready to be an NHL contributor there may be a hole waiting to be filled.
Trouba's red flags (other than the Michigan thing): His favourite TV show is Two and a Half Men and his favourite actor is Adam Sandler (source: NHL.com profile).
Possible nickname: The Troubadour
As you may have noticed, the writer of this post is also a new guy. I had been running my own Jets blog for the past year and I am happy to be joining the fold here at Arctic Ice Hockey.