With the ninth overall pick in the 2012 NHL Entry Draft, the Winnipeg Jets selected defenseman Jacob Trouba. Trouba is a big defenseman who can move the puck, kind of in the mold of Dion Phaneuf before everyone found out Phaneuf was overrated. So if it makes sense, the Jets are hoping they get the Phaneuf who didn’t flame out and get traded.
Trouba will begin his college career as a freshman with the University of Michigan. According to his team’s website, Trouba is listed at 6’2” and 195 pounds. At only 18 years old, Trouba will be able to grow into his frame and be able to take on NHLers down the road.
What’s exciting about Trouba is that even though he doesn’t do one thing exceptionally well, he’s good at pretty much everything a hockey player can do. He’s got good speed and skating ability. His offensive instincts are good. He likes to hit and play with an edge and possesses a good shot.
Also encouraging is a lack of holes in the scouting report. Trouba has size, speed, skill and hockey sense. The only knock on him is that he will need to become more disciplined when it comes to aggressive physical play. At the lower levels, everyone takes penalties like it’s going out of style. With such a strong emphasis on special teams in the NHL, that simply cannot fly.
Telling a player to dial it down isn’t impossible. Trouba will most likely be able to learn as he matures and grow out of taking dumb penalties. Couple that with the fact that he will gain some size and strength and further refine all the tools he has and the Jets may just have a real gem in their system.
Most defensemen take a while to develop, so don’t expect to see Trouba in a Jets uniform anytime soon. The defensive depth at the NHL and AHL levels is pretty solid, allowing Trouba to dominate for two to four years in college.
If you’re looking for something to do during the lockout, checking out some Wolverines games may not be a bad idea.