This is where Jacob Trouba’s story takes an intriguing turn. Before joining the US National Team Development Program, Trouba played for coach Andy Copp in the Compuware organization for six years. “He took a chance on me by taking me onto his team because I was definitely one of the worst guys, and having some faith in me and trusting me and working with me was pretty big. He pretty much taught me everything I know about hockey,” Trouba said.
Coach Copp certainly did a great job because Trouba has developed a skill set that led us to rank him #7 overall heading into the 2012 NHL Draft. A sturdy defenseman who plays a smart game in his own zone and likes to play physically, Trouba has good instincts and a shot that keeps goaltenders honest.
Those good instincts and heavy shot have been on display early this season. In an exhibition against the University of Windsor on Tuesday Trouba had three assists in his first game for the CCHA’s Michigan Wolverines and earned 2nd star of the game honors. He then notched a goal and an assist in Michigan’s first regular season game on Thursday night, and was again named 2nd star of the game.
Though his talent was enough to get him drafted number 9 overall by the Winnipeg Jets, that does not mean that Trouba has stopped working on his game. He has two main things he would like to refine during his time at the University of Michigan: getting stronger and decision making.
“Getting stronger is one of the biggest things for me. Put on weight,” Trouba pauses and laughs. “Good weight.” He added that one of the benefits of the college game is having games on weekends with a week to work out in between, which should allow time to train and increase his strength before making the jump to the NHL.
Though we noted his intelligence in our 2012 NHL Draft Guide, Trouba still sees room to improve. “Getting better in the defensive zone is something I need, and just decision making in different areas of the game."
With an already potent physical game that forces opponents to pay to gain ice, NHL forwards need to watch out when Trouba accomplishes his goals of becoming stronger and smarter. He should be terrorizing opponents from Winnipeg’s blueline for years to come.