Flames 2012 First Round Targets: Jacob Trouba



Once upon a time, the Calgary Flames used to draft big, mean, Western Canadian defenders. Dion Phaneuf. Matt Pelech. Gord Baldwin. John Negrin. One by one, though, these men were sent away and the Flames adopted a different strategy, drafting mobile, puck-moving defenders like Tim Erixon and T.J. Brodie. (Erixon was also sent away.)

With the Flames a bit light on both size and skill on the back end, there’s a good chance they’ll try to shore up the blueline at the 2012 draft. If they want to adopted a blended version of their two prior strategies, they may look at American defender Jacob Trouba.

Scouting Report

In short, Trouba may be the best player that would be found by either of the two drafting philosophies. At 6-foot-2 and 195 pounds, he’s big. Despite this, his size doesn’t take away from any of the other aspects of his game. Playing last season for the USHL’s U.S. National Junior Development Team, Trouba put up 18 points in 22 games. He also represented the United States at both the Under-18 World Championships and the World Juniors. Serving as an alternate captain at the U18s, he helped the team win a gold medal. He won a gold medal at the 2011 U18s, too.

Hockey Prospectus‘ Corey Pronman seems to like what he sees from Trouba.

Trouba is a very well-rounded defenseman who has developed nicely in his draft year and has a chance to be one of the better if not the best defenseman the NTDP has developed in the last few years before Seth Jones gets picked in 2013. His best tool is his skating which is plus. While his straightaway top is only above average, it’s his four-way mobility that really impresses. Trouba has great acceleration and gets up to his top gear in an instant. He’s also able to skate backwards as seamlessly and quickly as he can forward and rarely does a forward get behind him. Aside from his skating no part of his skill set truly stands out aside from maybe his physical game, but what makes Trouba valuable is he is above-average across the board.

In addition to praising Trouba’s all-around above-averageness, Pronman highlights his physical game, noting that he "relishes in laying opposition forwards out."

Trouba has committed to the University of Michigan for the 2012-13 season, the same school that produced former Flames first rounder Eric Nystrom and current Flames forward David Moss. It’s a good school with a good program, one which will likely allow Trouba 2-to-4 years to grow into his body a bit and prepare for the rigours of pro hockey.

Probable Target?

The problem with Trouba is still he will likely not be on board when the Flames hit the podium. ISS has him ranked 5th. NHL Central Scouting has him 9th among North American skaters. Hockey Prospectus has him 12th overall. Future Considerations has him 6th. Depending on where Europeans fit in (at least two will be chosen before Calgary picks), he MAY be available.

If he somehow falls to Calgary, expect the Flames to strongly consider him. He won’t be turning pro for a couple of years, but he could easily anchor the Flames’ blueline for years to come.

Probability he will be around at 14: Low

Probability Flames will pick him: Moderate

The Targets List

  • I think Trouba would be a great pick, but I agree that it will take some luck for him to fall down to us.

    That being said, the way I see the draft breaking down there is a really good chance that someone solid falls to us at 14.

    The way I see it there are two distinct tiers in the top 15 and then a huge drop off.

    1. The top 5 (Yakupov, Grigorenko, Murray, Galchenyuk and Forsberg)

    2. The next 10 (Dumba, Reilly, Teräväinen, Trouba, Reinhart, Ceci, Faksa, Girgensons, Collberg and Maataa)

    With the Flames picking at 14 they are all but assured to pick up one of these players. From all the different mock drafts I have read there is a ton of fluidity among this second group. For example, I’ve seen Trouba taken anywhere from 6 to 14.

    Now we can hope that a particular player falls to us at 14, I personally would be over the moon with Trouba or Faksa, but we will get a player with possible top 10 value no matter who we pick.

    Obviously there are no guarantees that a top 10 value pick will turn into a great or even good NHLer, but it looks like the chances of the Flames pulling of another coup like they did last year with Baertschi are better than zero.

      • BurningSensation

        I’m praying Grigerenko has a Cherepanov type of freefall, but I just can’t see him dropping to 14.

        With the forward crop being thin this year I suspect there will be a perverse run in them early on, and Grigerenko despite his warts won’t exit the top 5.

        My sincere hope is we trade up to get him.

        Failing that, a blue chip guy like Trouba would be a welcome consolation prize.

  • there’s also a good chance someone (or more than one someone) above the Flames will go insane and take someone (*cough*Gaunce*cough*) way ahead of where he should go. That happened a couple of times in last year’s draft (Scheifele, Siemens). I could see it happening this year to Gaunce, one of the goalies, and/or Lindholm.

  • RexLibris

    Trouba would be a solid selection, if available. I still think the Flames will be best served in the long-term by drafting a good defenseman this year.

    My guess is there will be a short run on forwards sometime between the 7th and 12th picks, pushing some quality blueliners down the line.

    Also, as Baalzamon mentioned, it only takes one team to “Jesse Niinimaki” at the podium for the next few teams to reap the rewards.

    The Flames prospect depth right now, though slim, is still at the forward ranks. Starting the clock on a defensive prospect, in a year when a 14th overall pick still affords a team some choice, would be the shrewdest move, in my opinion.

    P.S. – Nice updated photo Kent, you realize that you’re forcing the rest of us to pick up our aesthetic game. 😉

  • everton fc

    Seems the support for Girgensons has diminished here since all these potential picks have been posted and analyzed.

    I still think Girgensons should be a front-runner, though he’s sort of lean, built like Jared Boll, potentially (not saying he’s that type of player)

  • everton fc

    I’d like to see Calgary be able to land another 1st and get Giregnsons and Collberg. Along with Baertschi that could develop into a heck of a great line.

    I’ll stop dreaming now.

  • RexLibris


    As always, the next question is “at what cost?”

    Is this the Calgary mantra for any impending rebuild? “If it were done when it were done then ’twere well it were done quickly”

  • RexLibris

    Another hockey site that runs a half-decent draft mock up by a contributor that focuses solely on the prospects has the Flames passing on Collberg and Maatta and taking Girgensons.

    Just thought I’d pass that along. This contributor usually has some reasonable opinions on the draft and team needs.

  • RexLibris

    @Rex – Calgary blew their last rebuild (YG era) due to meddling, lack of resources, a half-@$$ed commitment to it and no sense of vision.

    Both ownership (although responsible for the above) and a lot of fans are scared of repeating that.

    Which in turn has caused the team to paint itself into a corner called ‘mediocrity.’

    “Better to have loved and lost……” IMO, but comments from fans here and elsewhere confirm that many have accepted the mediocrity and indeed prefer it to the risk/reward that comes from a rebuild.

    Apparently it’s more exciting to see your team maybe scrape into 8th, thus providing some form of suspense and entertainment (???), than it is to watch them possibly build an actual winner and perhaps becoem NYI or CBJ.

    Different strokes, I guess.

    • RexLibris

      Funny thing, there were some failed rebuilds here in Edmonton, and once the economics changed the whole city seemed to throw it’s weight behind the concept of developing young players. But then the Oilers have had some success with young players in the past so there is a natural affinity amongst the fan base.

      I hope you’ll read the Calgary rebuild article I’m working on. I think we’d likely agree on a few points, with the exception of the teams we cheer for.

      I was getting sick of the Oilers doing the same scratch-crawl into 8th only to face, and lose to, Dallas in the first round. Every. Single. Year. When the run happened I was ecstatic, but tried to stay grounded. When the collapse happened the following year I was actually relieved because it was closer to the team I knew was there and the illusions, I thought, had been dispelled.

      Sadly ownership thought otherwise.

  • everton fc

    The cost for two first round picks:

    Bouwmeester or Kipper. If possible.

    Thing is… Hartley may want to win now. I get the sense he does…

    If we could get Tom Wilson somehow… He’d be nice on a line w/Gaudreau down the road.


    I still like Emil Lundberg as our sleeper #2 pick, but my sense is we’ll go with a d-man if we pick a forward, at 14. If we pick a d-man (Ceci, Maatta??) then Lundberg’s still my next pick. Size coupled with comparisons to Franzen in Detroit can never be overlooked.

  • RexLibris

    @ everton: Remember we dont have a 2nd rounder, think your guy will be there for the 3rd round?

    Rex: Yeah I like reading Huddles posts & respect his projections & thought processes on these young kids. Kind of rare on that sight because there are some real wingnuts, especially(sorry) the Oiler blogger. He is just an outright overbearing troll. But he has his following, just like the news busines, sex & violence sells & so does his outrageous blogs. 🙂 I think best player available may be a dman & I think go for it but if its between Maata & Jirgensen I go Jirgensen. I’d like to see Ceci fall to us or Faska.

    • RexLibris

      Cloutier is an idiot. He is impatient, bombastic, and frankly the perfect HB writer. To use a hockey analytics metaphor, he drives possession but has a very low shooting percentage.

      He would have had the Oilers offer sheet Weber last summer and take on $7.5 million and forfeit four first round picks. All I can say is that I hope Vancouver hires him to be their next GM.

      Huddle is night and day by comparison. French is good as well. They are pretty much the only two I read with any consistency. And I never look at the comments. I don’t need to suffer through a Toronto fan’s poor grammar, or a Canucklehead’s frantic insults.

      Girgensons and Maatta would be the ones I would recommend that are perhaps most likely to be available.

      On a similar note, I’d like your opinion: would you trade Paajarvi and Omark for a pick between 8th and 10th? Provided the target was a defenceman like Reinhart or Reilly.

      • RexLibris

        “To use a hockey analytics metaphor, he drives possession but has a very low shooting percentage”

        so, he’s the sportswriter equivalent of Mikael Backlund? 😉 I guess what makes someone likeable as a player makes him insufferable as a writer lol.

        I know your Paajarvi/Omark question was directed at Kevin, but I’d like to weigh in. If I’m the Oilers, I definitely consider doing that deal given the organizational talent on the wing. On the other hand, there’s no guarantee Reinhart or Rielly will be ready any time soon.

        If I’m the other team, I ask for something other than Omark. Though, that’s likely a personal opinion and is likely not shared by most. I don’t like Omark. Never have.

        The Oilers’ system depth on defense isn’t awful, though. It’s better than the Flames’, with guys like Klefbom, Teubert, Musil, and Gernat all with 2nd (and arguably 1st in Klefbom’s case) pair upside (I didn’t mention Marincin because I think he has Babchuk written all over him. Once again, personal opinion, don’t take it to heart).

  • BurningSensation

    Trouba is another guy (like Faksa) that falls into take him if he’s there but he’s probably not there catagory. That being said if both were available I’d probably opt for Faksa.

  • everton fc

    @Kevin R

    Yep – knew we won’t have a second. I meant our second pick, which comes in the 3rd round.

    I think Lundberg may be available in round 3. What # are we with our 2nd pick??

    If teams are looking for size… Lundgren may be gone. Time will tell, soon enough!

    • RexLibris

      if teams are looking for size, that might work in the Flames’ favour, itself. There’s a guy named Troy Bourke who’s a bit on the small side but has oodles of talent. I’d be ecstatic if the Flames snatched him up in the 3rd round.

      the 3rd round pick is the 75th. It’s moved down one because someone (I want to say San Jose) got a compensatory pick.

  • RexLibris

    @ Rex: Yeah I have to be really bored before I read or even post a comment these days.

    Your deal you mentioned, my first thought was Oil would be giving up too much but then I started looking at the 2 players & I think Oilers missed the chance to get any decent value for Omark & I think they will be parting ways anyway so his value cant be much more than a mid round pick at best. Parjarvi still has value, it has diminished a bit last year so he really has to step up this year. Problem is he will be riding in the shadow of Eberle, Hall & Nuge & probably Yapukov. With Hemsky, Gagner & probably Smyth, he seems destined for 3rd line at best, which puts him at a disavantage. I know the Oilers covet Reinhart, so thinking again, if those two net you Reinhart, it would probably be a smart move.

  • RexLibris

    @ Baalzamon

    Glad to get your opinion. Aside from Yakupov there isn’t a single player in this year’s draft that I feel should be starting the season in the NHL next year.

    Moving both Paajarvi and Omark gives the receiving team two NHL-ready forwards who are both young and have offensive potential. Omark is obviously the add-in to help sweeten the deal. The teams that would be targeted are Minnesota, Anaheim and Carolina, all teams that find themselves in this position despite their best efforts and who may, perhaps, be willing to move a pick with little short-term impact for the two players mentioned.

    I bring it up because it would help to balance out what I believe will be a forward-heavy draft for the Oilers.

    Marincin as Babchuk? Interesting. He played on the same team as Chara in junior and there were many people who saw him there and said that they felt he was a more complete defenseman than Chara was at the same age. I’m not saying he’s our Chara, but time will tell and there are still so many ways that a propect can develop. He’s got another three years to mature and grow.

    Don’t worry, I’m not going to take any objective opinion on an Oilers prospect/player as a personal slight. It is these kind of outside perspectives that help to keep a fan grounded.

  • RexLibris

    @ KevinR

    They did miss the boat on Omark in terms of a trade, but rewind the tape two years and there was no clear answer that he was or wasn’t going to be a very good NHL player.

    The Flames lost Savard and St. Louis, the Oilers sent away Ray Whitney and Miro Satan, all because they were small and the team felt they had hit a plateau. Oops.

    My comments above to Baalzamon pretty much outline why I feel that Paajarvi and Omark, together, have the value of a 6th to 10th pick, provided that one of the two players mentioned is available (or better).

    Paajarvi could become an excellent swing LW who can move from 3rd line to 2nd line very easily. His instincts default to defensive hockey, partly because it was his first position, and that can be very useful in a large, smart player. So it isn’t a matter of dumping him before he tanks, so much as leveraging his value against what may turn out to be an improvement.

    It is often said that the Oilers have an abundance of potential 2nd pairing defensemen with perhaps one 1st pairing (Klefbom). Sending away a winger who may become a 2nd liner for a prospect that has the potential to become the other half of a 1st pairing is just finding balance for the franchise.

    If the Oilers draft Yakupov, then this deal is probably already in the works, whether or not it acutally gets done. If they draft Galchenyuk or trade down, then who knows what will happen.

    I’ve been paying close attention to the draft for quite a few years now and this is the first one that I can remember where there was so much chaos and uncertainty going in to the very first pick, not to mention the variations that will ensue based on the first five decisions.

  • RexLibris

    I don’t know about targeting Minnesota with that trade given the rather hefty need for defense on that team. Then again, their GM seems to be rather clueless, so you never know.