Jacob Trouba just helped the United States claim gold at the World Junior Championships. Luckily for the struggling Michigan Wolverines, it appears that Trouba’s next step will bring him back to Ann Arbor.
With the NHL lockout all but over, the possibility arose that the Winnipeg Jets — who drafted Trouba No. 9 overall in last year’s draft — would try to sign the talented defenseman now and expedite his path to the pros.
TSN’s Bob McKenzie tweeted Sunday that that’s not the current plan:
Lots in WPG asking about Trouba. No plans to sign him now so expectation, for now anyway, is he’ll be back at U of Michigan.
— Bob McKenzie (@TSNBobMcKenzie) January 6, 2013
Trouba has 10 points (4 G, 6 A) for the Wolverines this season. He nearly matched that total in seven games with the U.S. U-20 team during this year’s World Juniors — en route to the gold medal, Trouba put up four goals and five assists, while playing some impressive defense.
Here’s what TheScore.com had to say about Trouba in their pre-draft scouting:
With many players using their time in the NCAA ranks to develop their size and strength due to the less intensive game schedule, Trouba will likely be ready for the professional ranks in two years time after some seasoning under the Wolverines system. He’ll be more comfortable using his frame and will ideally be much more consistent with his decision making.
Michigan just celebrated the return of junior defenseman Jon Merrill, who is the property of the New Jersey Devils, from a neck injury he suffered earlier in the season. There was chatter leading up to this season that Merrill would jump ship from Michigan to the Devils system, though the lockout may have helped steer him back to Ann Arbor.
It now looks possible that the Wolverines will have to say goodbye to both Merrill and Trouba after this season, despite Trouba playing only one year of college hockey.