The Winnipeg Jets fell just short of the playoffs for a second straight season, and as they look ahead to next season they could see their top pick in the 2012 draft make an impact. The Jets selected defenseman Jacob Trouba with the ninth overall pick, and earlier this spring he decided to turn pro and sign with Winnipeg following his first season of collegiate hockey at the University of Michigan. Trouba was invited to training camp with Team USA for the upcoming IIHF World Championship, which should be another great step in aiding his development. There is no denying he is talented, but time will tell if the Jets think he is ready for the NHL.
It was a bit of a surprise that the Jets didn’t try and get Trouba into game action this season, but the fact that they were in a tight race for the playoffs likely had a lot to do with that. They also chose not to send Trouba to their AHL affiliate, the St. John’s IceCaps. While rushing him to the big stage if he isn’t ready would be a mistake, it looks like he will at least have the chance to compete for a roster spot at training camp in the fall. Defense was a bit of a concern for the Jets this season, and many of their AHL prospects saw time in the NHL.
Trouba scored 12 goals and had 29 points for the Wolverines in 39 games this season, while being named to the CCHA All-Rookie Team and being honored as the conference’s best offensive defenseman. He has won three medals with Team USA, most recently helping bring home gold at the 2013 World Junior Championship.