Jacob Trouba is ahead of the curve when it comes to playing defense. The 6’2”, 196-pound blueliner has spent the last two seasons with the US National Team Development Program, a squad made up of players 18-and-under that competes in the United States Hockey League and in exhibitions against college programs. The Rochester, MI native was the youngest player selected for Team USA at the 2012 World Junior Championships, and was 16 months younger than Adam Clendening, the next youngest defenseman on the team.
After scoring 18 points in 22 USHL games last season, Trouba is the top ranked American born and trained player available, according to NHL Central Scouting. He is committed to play at the University of Michigan next season, a program that has produced NHL talent such as Max Pacioretty, Andrew Cogliano, Eric Nystrom, Carl Hagelin, and Jack Johnson in recent years.
Trouba shared his thoughts on last season, the World Junior tournament and the upcoming draft with NewYorkIslanders.com.
NewYorkIslanders.com: How would you describe your style of play to someone who has never seen you on the ice?
Jacob Trouba: I’d say I’m a physical, two-way defenseman. I think being big and physical is a big part of my game, but then there’s also the offensive aspect that I can bring also.
NYI: Talk about the experience of being the youngest player on the U.S. roster at the 2012 World Junior Championships.
JT: It was a pretty cool experience. It all kind of went by fast, and it wasn’t what we wanted as far as the outcome, but the whole experience of playing with those guys was pretty cool. Those were the guys I was looking up to while trying to get to the National Team Program. A lot of them were playing there at the time. So it was cool to see them and get to know them.
NYI: There are a lot of top draft eligible players coming from the USHL. How do you feel playing in that league and playing with the Under-18 team has prepared you?
JT: I think it has helped tremendously, actually. Coming in last year as a 17-year-old, I was playing guys who were 20-years old, and they were pushing you, and they’re bigger and faster. With the Under-18 team, we played colleges as well as the USHL teams, so we’re always playing against bigger, faster competition, and always getting better.
NYI: What are you expecting from the NHL Draft in Pittsburgh?
JT: I think it’s just cool being in this situation with all these great defensemen and other players. I’m just going to enjoy it. I just want to have fun with it, because I’m only going to go through this experience once.