Jacob Trouba wants to be known as a man of his word.
So when the highly touted defensive prospect is ready to make his decision whether to play in the OHL for the Kitchener Rangers -- who hold his CHL rights -- or the NCAA, there won't be any late de-commitments or promises broken.
"That's sort of why I haven't (committed), because I don't want to make a commitment and then back down from it," said the 17-year-old on Wednesday, while in Toronto to take part in the NHL's Research and Development Camp.
It appears that he has finally decided on going the NCAA route.
It's hard to find an article about Trouba that doesn't gush praise. The Hockey News had a scout call him "Cam Fowler with more of an edge." The Prospect Blog called him "the next great American defenseman" and echoed the Fowler-with-an-edge comparison. Fowler, you may recall, played for the NTDP, broke his Notre Dame commitment to play in the OHL for a year, and scored 10-30--40 as a rookie for the Anaheim Ducks.
A poster at HockeysFuture compiled a list of the early 2012 Draft Rankings and had Trouba 4th overall. As I mentioned the other day, TSN has him tied for 10th in in their rankings. He's tied with Matia Marcantuoni, whose name might sound familiar to Wolverine fans. NHL Central Scouting ranked him as an "A" player on their watch list.
After he was given that distinction, the United States of Hockey chimed in:
Trouba was called up to the Under-18s and had a chance to showcase himself at the World Under-18 Championship. His booming shot and excellent skating are his most notable assets. He plays a physical brand of hockey in all areas. The only thing that happened to Trouba at the U18s is that a few of his flaws that he’ll need to work on this year were exposed. His hockey sense isn’t where it needs to be just yet, as he made a few poor decisions in Germany. That said, his tools are elite. He scored Team USA’s first goal in the gold-medal game against Sweden on a one-timer. Another year of development, and focusing on making good decisions, and he could easily find himself in, or around the top five.
This year so far Trouba has three assists in four games for the NTDP's Under 18 team. He had 6-13--19 in 37 games with the U-17s last season, made the USHL All-Star team, and was called up to the Under 18s at the end of the season. With the U-18s he had 6 points, including a goal in the World Under 18 Championship Game, which the USA won in overtime.
Connor Murphy played with Trouba on the U-18s last year. He gave a quick scouting report to McKeen's:
It's been good. He's a good, strong, energy defenseman. Like you saw last night, he always has a couple big hits. He's got a good shot. We try to work to get him one-timers on the power play. So, I think he brings energy with his speed and his physical nature into the game. It really helps us out. I'm kind of more of a smart playmaking defenseman, so I can set him up or angle guys toward him to make some big hits. So, he helps us out a lot.Robbie Russo (U-18 and Notre Dame defenseman) also chimed in:
He's got a lot of power in his game. He's got a massive one-timer. He'll knock some guys off their feet, even being a young player. He doesn't back down from any of that. I'd like to see him go to Notre Dame in the future (smiles).HUGE pickup, especially with the likely defection of Jon Merrill to the NHL after this coming season. He joins NTDP teammate Connor Carrick and possibly Spence Hyman as a defenseman in the incoming class of 2012.