Player Preview: Jacob Trouba

Jacob Trouba had fans salivating when he skated across the blue line and ripped a huge clapper past Oilers netminder Devan Dubnyk in the opening game of the season. That was only a sample of what was to come from the NHL rookie. 

While Trouba had his share of ups and downs throughout the season, it’s easy to believe Trouba is set to become a star in the NHL, and his growth will be crucial to the Jets’ future playoff hopes.

Trouba found himself where many NHL rookie defensemen end up, being clueless in the defensive zone at times, but Trouba will become better in his own end and eventually become a solid two-way NHL defenseman.

PERFORMANCE

Trouba extra skater

Trouba produced admirably in his rookie season in the NHL, scoring an astounding 10 goals and 29 points in only 65 games. Trouba played alongside Mark Stuart and Zach Bogosian throughout the season, and had some good numbers with Bogosian. It’s been discussed that Trouba actually carried Mark Stuart and was mentored by the “team guy”. Whatever it was, Trouba developed as the season went on and has an extremely bright future ahead of him.

Personally I didn’t expect to see Trouba in the NHL last season, as he believed he would be better suited to play the college game for at least another year but I guess I was wrong. He has incredible offensive instincts and showed that he is capable of playing in the big league at a young age.

The biggest concern with Trouba is the fact that he was unable to stay healthy and if that continues next season he could be labeled as injury prone. 

EXPECTATIONS

Dread lightly on draft day with a player like Trouba. The sophomore jinx is a real thing and it affects more than 60 per cent of the players going into their second season. 

Trouba will someday be a 50-point defenseman, and he will likely be the leader on the Jets blue line for many years to come. Expect Trouba to gradually improve statistically as the years go by. 

Trouba will see his ice time increase this year, and in that capacity he will likely also see his competition increase and will play against the likes Patrick Kane, Tyler Seguin, Zach Parise, Paul Stastny and Nate MacKinnon. Playing against that kind of competition will result in poorer possession numbers, but it’s for the best in his development.

I don’t see Trouba increasing his production by a lot, but he will still see career highs. Kevin McCartney predicted Trouba would score 9 goals, and i’ll agree with him on that point. His shooting percentage will not be as good as last season, but he will probably play more games.

I’m predicitng Trouba scores 9-26-35 in 78 games this season.

MAJOR QUESTIONS

1.    
How much growth is expected of Trouba?

Like I mentioned before, I think Trouba is
going to be a stud, but it isn’t going to happen overnight. With the Jets
having depth issues and likely heading toward the NHL basement, Trouba will
have a difficult time improving drastically on his rookie season. Jets
management will be fine with the hiccups that come with developing a
defenseman.

2.    
Who will Trouba line up with on his defensive
pairing?

Trouba played with Mark Stuart and Zach
Bogosian during his rookie year. Tobias Enstrom and Bogosian have been a good
pairing in the past and may take the first pairing role. That would leave Trouba
to line up with Grant Clitsome, Paul Postma or Adam Pardy. I believe if Josh
Morrisey makes the team out of camp to follow in Trouba’s shoes, he will likely
play with veteran Mark Stuart on the 5/6 pairing. Trouba will likely play with Grant
Clitsome, and if Clitsome plays like the lockout version of Clitsome, the
pairing could have some success.

3.    
Is there any real reason to be concerned about
Trouba’s injuries?

One of the worst things that can ruin a
player’s potential is injuries. Especially when a player is just starting out
in his career. Trouba had an awful neck injury and it should be of some
concern. If Trouba re-aggravates his injury, then it will be a huge concern,
but it’s not all that probable.