|Jacob Trouba will forego his final three seasons.|
Photo: Bill Rapai
The freshman defenseman won Best Offensive Defenseman and was named first team All-CCHA. He was also a finalist for CCHA Rookie of the Year and won a gold medal with Team USA at the World Junior Championships. Only Alex Guptill and AJ Treais had more points than his 12-17--29 line, and only Guptill had more goals. He also blocked a team-high 53 shots and led the team in penalty minutes with 88. He also led the team with seven power play goals and 14 power play points. He was second on the team (!) with 115 shots.
He quickly endeared himself to Michigan fans due to his hard hits and absolute rocket of a shot. He was at his best in one of the playoff wins over Western Michigan when he had two highlight reel goals to lift Michigan to a victory.
His departure means Michigan will be replacing three of their top four defensemen next year, with Jon Merrill also going pro and Lee Moffie graduating. Mac Bennett, Kevin Clare (who it now sounds like will be back next year), Mike Chiasson, Brennan Serville, and Mike Szuma will return on the blue line. The Wolverines will also add Michael Downing, Nolan De Jong, and Spencer Hyman. It was also mentioned as a possibility that Kevin Lohan could join the team next year. So Michigan will have bodies on the blueline, but there are some big skates to fill. Downing is the best candidate to be able to step onto the top pairing and play with Bennett.
If Trouba skates with the big club before the end of the season--as I imagine he will--he will be the 19th Wolverine to play in the NHL this year. Wisconsin currently leads the NCAA with 19 players in the NHL (they have a 20th on a roster, but he has not played yet, so they could easily pull back ahead).
In other news, it's time for the annual jersey auction. I imagine those #8 jerseys will fetch a pretty penny. There are 5 options to pick from this year, with the GLI jerseys also up for bid. It looks like Moffie, Lynch, and Treais kept their blue jerseys, while Rohrkemper kept his white jersey and Sparks kept the GLI blue jersey.