Trouba (left) celebrates his second consecutive gold medal at the U-18 World Champsionships in April.
Jacob Trouba likes to emulate his game after Shea Weber.
“He’s just a big mean physical defenseman,” said the 6'2", 190-pound blueliner in a phone interview Wednesday. “No one likes to play against him. I admire that. He’s the captain and a leader and a big shot on the back end, and I can just relate to how he plays.”
Trouba, 18, is a player who possesses a tremendous array of hockey talent. Viewed as a top prospect for more than two years in a deep draft class for defensemen, Trouba is expected to be, at worst, a top 12 selection in June’s NHL Entry draft at the CONSOL Energy Center in Pittsburgh. Some scouts have him going as high as third or fourth overall.
It’s all for good reason. Trouba is, arguably, the best defenseman to come out of the National Team Development Program since Jarred Tinordi was taken 22nd overall in 2010 by Montreal.
In addition to being the highest-rated player out of the USNTDP in this year’s draft, Trouba also has a chance to make some history in Pittsburgh. Should he be selected in the top ten picks, he would become the first USNTDP player to do so since 2007, when James van Riemsdyk was taken second overall by the Flyers. He would also only be the fourth to be taken in the top ten in the last ten years, rarefied air indeed.
Trouba, however, is familiar with such accolades and being the cream of the crop. This past winter, at the IIHF World Junior Hockey Championships, Trouba was the only skater eligible for this year’s draft, the only 17 year-old, and the youngest player to make the American team. Though the United States came up short of expectations, the experience was invaluable for a player who has continually stepped up his game in big situations.
“That tournament really helped me a lot, and it opened my eyes to a lot of things,” he said. “I mean that’s the first time I’ve ever been on that big of a stage, playing for something, with so many people watching. Up in Canada, it’s a pretty big deal. To be able to play how I did, play at that level, and really prove to myself and to other people was great. I think that’s something I’m very capable of and I’m glad I had the opportunity to do that.”