Winnipeg Jets NCAA Prospect Tracker: Jacob Trouba is named best defenseman at 2013 World Junior Championships

Justin K. Aller

Winnipeg Jets' prospects turn a new page on their calendars and get ready for the NCAA's second half schedule.

The NHL lockout may be coming to an end, but Arctic Ice Hockey will continue to focus on how the Winnipeg Jets' prospects are performing this season. In this feature, we will track the performance of prospects throughout the past few weeks of the 2012-2013 NCAA hockey season. Enjoy!

Goaltenders

Connor Hellebuyck (UMass-Lowell) - Last time we checked in on Hellebuyck, he was posting very impressive numbers - .918 SV% and 2.17 GAA - in limited game action (~220 minutes). That trend has continued, as Hellebuyck has received just two starts in the past month. He had strong showings in both though, first stopping 30 shots in a 5-0 win at Harvard, then stopping 25 shots in a 2-1 win over Clarkson. Hellebuyck is now up to a .942 SV% and 1.58 GAA on the season, as well as a 4-1 record in his five starts. Despite those impressive numbers, Hellebucyk continues to start half as many games as junior Doug Carr, and rarely plays against the big boys. Though Hellebucyk started against Denver earlier this season, he hasn't started against a ranked opponent since. Meanwhile, Carr has started games against Colorado College, Boston College (twice), and New Hampshire (three times). Considering the strength of Hellebuyck's stat line, I'm surprised he hasn't been awarded another shot against a ranked opponent.

Jamie Phillips (Michigan Tech) - After getting his first start of the season back in December -- stopping 23 of 25 shots -- Phillips has yet to receive a second start since we last checked in on him. His most recent action came in relief of starter Kevin Genoe in a 6-1 loss to North Dakota, where Phillips stopped 9 of 10 shots in the losing effort. Meanwhile, Michigan Tech's other two goalies -- Kevin Genoe and fellow freshman Phoenix Copley -- have continued to struggle, posting GAA's of 3.26 (Genoe) and 3.30 (Copley), matching their unimpressive save percentages of .902 (Genoe) and .892 (Copley). More recently, Copley posted back-to-back shutouts against Michigan and Western Michigan but, as with Hellebuyck, I'm a bit stumped as to why Phillips hasn't received a second start. At the very least, I hope Phillips is getting a lot of practice time in with goaltending coach Steve Shields.

Jason Kasdorf (RPI) - After taking the reigns and starting four straight games for RPI all while posting very impressive numbers, Kasdorf has started just one game in the past month due to a break in NCAA action and a subsequent shoulder injury. While the injury is not thought to be serious, the Engineers will certainly miss him between the pipes. The table below says it all.

Name GP W L T Min GAA SV %
Jason Kasdorf 7 2 1 2 368 1.63 .937
Bryce Merriam 8 2 4 1 434 3.17 .897
Scott Diebold 6 2 3 1 294 3.06 .879

Defensemen

Peter Stoykewych (Colorado College) - Three more games, three more losses for Colorado College. Despite that, Stoykewych picked up two assists and although he played to a -1 rating, it was against two of the tougher teams (#15 St. Cloud State and #16 University of Nebraska-Omaha) in college hockey. Still, a rough season keeps deteriorating for this team.

Aaron Harstad (Colorado College) - One of the reasons for Colorado College's struggles? Aaron Harstad hasn't played in weeks due to a shoulder injury. He's expected back in the near future, and will hopefully help kick the Tigers break out of their funk. As of this writing, CC hasn't won a game since November.

Brennan Serville (Michigan) - Brennan Serville is once again healthy and in the lineup for the Wolverines. Since we last checked in on him, Serville finally picked up his first point of the season, scoring the first goal in a 2-0 over #7 Western Michigan. Let's hope that both Serville and the Wolverines can get their season back on track.

Jacob Trouba (Michigan) - Trouba hasn't suited up for Michigan since he scored the only other goal in Michigan's December 15 victory over #7 Western Michigan. He did, however, had a fantastic World Junior tournament for team USA. Trouba anchored the Americans' defense all tournament long, stayed out of trouble with the officials -- not the easiest thing to do for a physical player playing under a different rules -- and tied for the team lead in scoring. The US juniors would go on to beat both Canada and Sweden convincingly in the elimination rounds to win the tournament, in which Trouba earned the title of the WJC's best defenseman. When on the ice, Trouba can be a force. At times he controlled play like few defensemen do at this tournament and he often looked like a man amongst boys. But while Trouba was so dominant, he also when through stages here he was strangely quiet. One of the next big steps in Trouba's development will be establishing consistency.

For more on both Serville's and Trouba's future endeavors at Michigan, be sure to check out Anthony's updates from Ann Arbor.

Forwards

Vinny Saponari (Northeastern University) - Due to the break in NCAA action, Saponari's played in just one game since our last update, picking up an assist in the process. He continues to rank second on the team in points and an even +/- rating (on a team with a -8 goal differential) ain't too shabby.

Tanner Lane (Nebraska-Omaha) - It took 15 games to get there, but Tanner Lane finally scored the first goal of his NCAA career on January 4th. He went on to add another as Nebraska-Omaha cruised to an 8-4 victory of Colorado College. In his next game, he finished with one assist. Lane's two goal game came after Nebraska-Omaha dropped two consecutive losses to the #5 Quinnipac Bobcats, which leads us to...

Jordan Samuels-Thomas (Quinnipac University) - From what I gather, Samuels-Thomas can be quite a streaky player. After a hot streak, JST went scoreless for four games, but is back on a hot streak. This time, he's potted three goals and an assist in Quinnipac's past three games, all against ranked teams (two against #16 Nebraska-Omaha, one against #8 Dartmout). He also played to a +5 in that stretch. Qunnipac keeps rolling; the Bobcats are now ranked #5 in the NCAA and haven't lost since November 6.

Note: Click the headings to sort the table by any category you choose.

Name School GP G A P PIM
Jacob Trouba U. of Michigan 16 5 6 11 50
Yasin Cisse Boston University 13 0 2 0 16
Peter Stoykewych Colorado College 21 0 4 4 10
Vinny Saponari Northeastern University 16 3 9 12 12
Jordan Samuels-Thomas Quinnipiac University 21 6 5 11 30
Tanner Lane U. of Nebraska-Omaha 16 2 2 0 4
Aaron Harstad Colorado College 16 1 3 4 6
Brennan Serville U. of Michigan 15 1 0 1 8
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