Standout University of Michigan defenseman and top-tier Winnipeg Jets prospect Jacob Trouba has decided to turn pro this season. The news was first reported on Twitter last Tuesday by NHL.com writer EJ Hradek.
It’s been a week since Trouba’s decision to turn pro and he hasn’t played a game with the Jets… yet.
Trouba’s collegiate career came to an end on March 24 when he played in what will now be recognized as his final game as a Wolverine. Michigan made it to the CCHA Championship game where they eventually lost to Notre Dame by the score of 3-1.
Trouba played in 37 games with Michigan this year and tallied 12 goals to go with 29 points. He was tremendous defensively for them the entire year as well.
Trouba was the ninth overall pick of the Jets in the 2012 draft. He was a highly touted defenseman to begin with, but he broke on to the scene as one of the top prospects in all of hockey after the 2013 World Junior Championships. Trouba won the award for best defenseman in the tournament.
Trouba fits the style of Nashville Predators defenseman Shea Weber, playing the game similar to him both offensively and defensively. Trouba plays stout positional defense, but he isn’t afraid to throw the body around. He also has that rocket of a shot which scores him a lot of goals.
He is the complete package.
At 19 years of age, Trouba is more than ready to take on NHL action, but is now the right time?
Trouba hasn’t played a game with the Jets since turning pro. The Jets have seven games left in the regular season with a chance to make the playoffs for the first time since 2007. Whether Trouba can play in the NHL right now or not isn't what's holding him back from playing NHL hockey. It's another situation.
If Trouba plays more than five games with the Jets this season, the Jets would burn one year off of his entry-level contract.
It’s probably not a smart idea to let Trouba play more than five games. The ELC is valuable because of cap hits and money purposes. It would be a complete waste of time to burn an entire year when there are only seven games left to begin with.
However, it’s not out of the question whether Trouba will play this season or not. He can, obviously, play five games without any consequences to his contract.
In Tuesday night’s win over the Buffalo Sabres, the Jets suffered an injury to one of their top players, defenseman Tobias Enstrom. The severity of the injury is unknown at this point, but anything more than a few games would be a huge blow. Does a spot open up for Trouba?
The Jets' management can think either one of two things: Trouba helps the playoff push, or his inexperience hurts it. Well, there is that third thing, which is probably the real reason Trouba has yet to play and may not at all this season.
The management is fully aware of how important the full three years of the ELC is. Whether Trouba helps a playoff push or not, it’s the “five game rule” that is most important and the debate currently surrounding Trouba.
We all want to see Trouba in a Jets uniform, and there’s no doubt about Trouba being a full-time Jet next season. Whether he sees any action at all this season is still up in the air, but consider it highly unlikely.