With the NHL Draft getting closer I thought I would try and write about some of the top prospects out there and American defenseman Jacob Trouba is the first one I thought I would talk about.
A gem in the USA hockey system this 6-2, 195 blueliner is destined to play in the NHL someday but it will take some time. He will attend Michigan University this Fall and he will need to play there a few seasons to hone his skills.
"I'm pretty excited," Trouba stated. "Playing hockey there is going to be cool, especially with the renovations there."
Now he is a young man with options. In 2010 he was drafted by the Kitchener Rangers. Now he had a choice to make.
"After here (NTDP) I was going to go to Michigan or Kitchener. I wanted to visit both places to see where I'd fit in better. I think I fit in better with Michigan and I'd enjoy that more," he said. "Michigan said if you want to be here you are welcome to come here. That's pretty much the way they handled it all along."
He is a veteran of International play and he got a gold medal in the U-18's back in 2011.
"That was definitely one of my coolest experiences in hockey but for that team I took on a different role than most teams I played on in the past....I think I learned a lot that I can take in and help out this year."
So what happened to the US team last year at the U-20's is still a mystery. They didn't medal and the Rochester, Minnesota native is still trying to reconcile that in his mind.
"First you are playing against much better players," Trouba said talking about the jump from the U-18 tournament. "I'm still kind of puzzled about what happened and how it happened. I just don't know."
Like most kids in the Team USA system, Trouba has been getting faster and stronger because of the world class facilities he gets to train in.
"Since I came to Ann Arbor it's much better," Trouba said talking about his strength. "I came in here a few years ago at 160 pounds."
This kid eats, sleeps and breathes Detroit sports.
"Yeah. All Detroit sports. I was going to all the games when they lost 119 games (in 2003). That's what we did," he said like he got a merit badge for attending those games. "I would just try and catch a foul ball. My dad did. My dad's 6-8, he has an advantage. He can box others out, let the ball hit the pavement and then get it."
His dad played college hoops and he lives with his aunt and uncle. So far he has the makings of a top ten pick.
"I'd say I'm a more of a bring the puck up the ice and join the play kind of defenseman," and then he talked about an NHL player he admires. "I like to watch Shea Weber play. He's probably my favorite player to watch."
I was wondering if Trouba had seen the Weber Upper Deck goal. It was a YouTube sensation.
"Yeah from the Upper Deck? He got a lucky bounce. I wouldn't be able to shoot it over the glass," said the aspiring comic. Seriously he's a funny dude.
Next year will be special for him with the Winter Classic and all of the events coming into town.
"Hopefully I will be at the World Juniors. There's a lot of cool stuff going on. It's been pretty dead in past years."
Before he gets drafted he has to get through the combine.
"I'm going to do the same things I always do," he said confidently.
And then he talked about the possibility of puking after taking the v02 test.
"I probably will but I won't be the only one," said Trouba. And then he talked about the importance of testing the prospects. "I think they find out how hard of a worker you are and how much you want to play in the NHL."
When June rolls around this mobile, physical defenseman will hear his name called pretty early on. Who will draft him is the million dollar question.
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