The following feature is running as part of BostonBruins.com’s #ProspectTBT series, highlighting current Bruins and their paths to the NHL, including key markers like the NHL Entry Draft and the Boston Bruins Development Camp.
BostonBruins.com – When Zach Trotman arrived for Bruins Development Camp in 2012, he was entering his third season with the organization, with his eyes set on wearing the Spoked-B for years to come.
It was a journey that began when he was just a toddler.
“My uncle took me skating when I was three or four years old,” Trotman said at that Development Camp.
“I kind of fell in love with it, and I’ve just been skating ever since.”
That he has.
The 25-year-old defenseman played in a career-high 38 games for the Bruins this past season, scoring two goals and adding five assists in his first full NHL season.
Trotman’s ascent to Boston began with a strong collegiate career at Lake Superior State (Mich.) from 2009-12. In 114 games over three seasons, Trotman tallied 19 goals and 30 assists, highlighted by an 11-goal, 10-assist campaign in 2011-12 – which led all Lakers defensemen.
After his freshman season with the Lakers, Trotman was drafted by the Bruins in the seventh round of the 2010 NHL Draft – the 210th and final pick.
Bruins management at the time complimented Trotman’s size (6-foot-4, 202 pounds) and puck-moving ability, saying, “we didn’t want to leave the draft without him and we were fortunate enough to be able to acquire him.”
High praise indeed.
But being the last pick in the draft worked as a motivating factor for Trotman, who became just the 11th player selected last to play in the NHL.
"I think everything happens for a reason and I didn't expect to get drafted at all," Trotman told BostonBruins.com in 2014. "I think the fact that I got picked last overall kind of gives you a chip on your shoulder to want to prove yourself a little bit more maybe. It gives you a little extra motivation to make it.
"So I think it played a big part in where I am now, and how I got there, and definitely my mindset.”
The Carmel, Indiana native went on to play two more seasons in college, before forgoing his senior year to sign with the Bruins on March 25, 2012. He joined Providence the day before and notched his first professional point with the winning goal against the Connecticut Whale.
That summer, Trotman attended his third Bruins Development Camp and made his skating game his primary focus.
“I definitely [want to work on] foot speed, skating, work on my balance,” Trotman said at the time. “As a bigger guy, that’s a huge part of my game and if I can skate with the little guys it’s going to be a huge step towards making it to the next level.
“I’m looking forward to training camp; this summer’s a little different than just going back to school. I’m trying to improve every day and make sure I have the best shot coming into camp and that the GM, the coaches, every one here, sees that I’m working hard and improving every day.
“I’m just trying to put myself in the best position going into training camp.”
The hard work paid off as Trotman went on to tally 16 points – third among Providence defensemen – in his first full professional season in 2012-13.
Trotman then made his NHL debut the following year. After a season-ending injury to Dennis Seidenberg, Trotman’s introduction came on Dec. 28, 2013 at Ottawa, a game in which he arrived midway through warmups after a four-and-half hour cab ride from Glen Falls, N.Y.
"That was about as wild as the draft was," said Trotman. "It definitely goes to show it doesn't matter where you're drafted; it's just how bad you want it and how hard you want to work for it, and take advantage of opportunities."
In 2014-15, Trotman began receiving more time with the big club, playing in 27 games over four recalls. He notched his first NHL point with an assist on Oct. 28 against Minnesota and at times he played alongside Zdeno Chara on the top defense pairing.
Perhaps his most memorable hockey moment came on April 2, 2015 at Detroit, when he potted his first career goal, the game-winning tally with just 2:08 remaining to cap off a furious Bruins comeback in which they scored three third-period goals.
That extended stay at the NHL level provided Trotman will invaluable experience that helped his transition to a more expansive role this past season.
“[You learn] a little bit of everything — how the guys carry themselves up there, the way they handle themselves around the rink,” Trotman said at the end of the 2014-15 season.
“And then as far as my game, just keeping it simple and strong. I learned that if I was able to do that up there, and play a simple game and not try and make things too complicated, then I ended up playing better.”
The 2016 Boston Bruins Development Camp, presented by AT&T, will take place from July 12-15, at Ristuccia Arena in Wilmington, Mass. All on-ice sessions are open to the public, with the camp’s roster to be announced at a later date. For the latest information on current Bruins prospects, bookmark BostonBruins.com/prospects.