The following feature appears in the November 16th edition of the Boston Bruins Prospect Report. Download the complete report, which includes features, upcoming games and statistics on all Bruins prospects, by clicking here.
NORTH KINGSTOWN, RI - It’s a difficult task to project any draft pick. After all, even many first-rounders don’t make an NHL roster. But Zach Trotman, picked in the last possible spot in the 2010 NHL Entry Draft (7th Round, 30th Pick, 210th Overall), is turning heads in Providence as the former Lake Superior State defenseman refines his game in the pros.
“First off, Zach’s physically more mature than most his age,” said Providence Head Coach Bruce Cassidy of the 22-year-old blueliner. “He’s got good feet, they can be very good when he moves them.
“That’s part of what we’re trying to get Zach play the game a little quicker. Because when he plays with pace, you put his hockey IQ together, his strength, his feet, his ability to make plays, you’ve got yourself a good hockey player there.”
The B’s thought they had a good player when they chose him out of Lake Superior after a good freshman season which saw the defenseman put up 2-6-8 totals. But Trotman’s sophomore season (6-14-20) and junior campaign (11-10-12) showed the rest of the hockey world what the Black & Gold saw in the CCHA product.
Still, Trotman, who left Lake Superior last spring to join the P-Bruins after his third collegiate season, said that the pro game is a little different from the NCAA and he continues to make the transition in his first full AHL campaign.
“I think, for me, the college guys were kind of the same build,” explained Trotman, who stands 6-foot-3 and 219-pounds. “Everyone has a little bit of a more muscular build in college, so as far as that standpoint goes, it’s the same.
“But everyone moves the puck so much faster, and there’s so much better positioning here that it makes the game seem a lot faster if you don’t know what you’re doing.
“So learning the systems and being the right place is huge,” he said.
However, thus far, the B’s brass likes what they’ve seen in the big blueliner.
“It’s been a progression for Zach,” said Boston Bruins Assistant General Manager Don Sweeney. “Leaving school and jumping in and playing a few games last year I think accelerated the learning curve for him.
“He’s been in and out of the lineup a little bit which is a big adjustment for a lot of these young players. I think this past weekend he took some real strides in moving forward with his game, and I think we’re excited with where he’s headed.”
That said, Trotman knows that he’s got to continue to progress in Providence in order to make the ultimate transition and head up I-95.
“It’s going well,” he said after a recent practice. “We have a stacked d-corp here, so it’s tough to get in the lineup.
“It’s a lot of competing in practice; guys are always battling with each other. I’ve been in six games now, so I’ve felt pretty good.
“I’ve been able to work with the older guys, watch them, see how they play, and it’s been great learning curve for me,” he said.
And as that curve gets shallower, Trotman will look to take his solid two-way game to the next level.
“Well my D-zone and my passing is the strength of my game, so that’s what my strong suits are, but, just progressing with it, and getting better with it, and more consistent every night,” he said, adding, “Working in d-zone more on closing guys and being able to be more of a physical presence.
“Obviously, the higher up you go, the harder it is to close on guys, so that’s definitely been something I’ve really worked on.”
But if Trotman continues to surprise the B’s staff, he might have plenty more to work on in Boston where the competition will be more daunting.
“Skating is an area that has improved since the first Development Camp, and he’s worked hard at it,” said Sweeney. “His shot is a real big asset, he’s got the innate ability to change his lane at the offensive blue line and get shots through.
“He doesn’t get a lot of shots blocked at all, and it’s heavy. It’s on top of goaltenders in hurry. It doesn’t always take that big windup that a lot of times gets yourself in trouble as a defenseman. I think that’s a big asset for him going forward as he gains more and more confidence to be able to utilize it.”