Jacob Trouba was very lucky last Friday. I know its hard to believe a sprained neck can in any way be lucky, but considering he was taken off the ice in a stretcher... He should miss a month of action, and after seeing the play, many probably felt it would be the last game he played this year.
There are several young players in their rookie year this new
NHL season as there always is. There are
many defensemen as well, but too not many under the age of 20. I've already let
it be known that I don't agree with Trouba playing for the Jets this season and
I've previously predicted injuries. Now I'm not saying Fridays incident
couldn't have happened to anyone else. obviously it was a miss-step and was a
freak injury. It's also important to remember that the NHL
is the best league in the world, played by the biggest, fastest, and strongest
players in the world. Injuries are frequent, and young developing D men can ill
afford the get them. Injuries DESTROY development!
Lets look at some other key young defensemen and see how they are doing:
Seth Jones was 4th overall selection last summer, slipping from the consensus number one spot. Jones is a rare case where a D man steps into the
NHL in his draft year. Playing on the top
pair with Shea Weber is also very rare. Jones is already 6'4' and 200+ lbs. He
has managed 4 points in the first 9 games and is looking like a potential
Calder candidate at this early stage.
Nathan Beaulieu is in his second pro season and is earning big time air miles at the moment. Beaulieu has only played 2 games so far this season but has been sent down and recalled 4 times already from the AHL. Beaulieu had great numbers in Hamilton last year but has yet to score a point so far this year. He is 20 years old, 6'1" and 185 lbs. I bit on the slender side but he is generally regarded as more of an offensive prospect.
Ryan Murray is also technically in his second pro season, although he did not play one game last year. Murray was the 2nd overall pick last year and Columbus had him in junior because of the lock-out. Unfortunately for all involved, Murray suffered a season ending shoulder injury and missed and entire year of critical development. Murray is listed as 6'1", 200 lbs. So far he is playing on the third pairing and hasn't registered a point. I doubt Columbus would send him back to junior at the 9 game mark but they could to save a year on his entry level deal. It will be very interesting to watch the development of Murray.
Ryan Murphy is another of the 2011 draft class playing in the
year. Murphy also went back to junior last year, had a late season call-up to the
AHL, and actually played 4 NHL
games last year. The power play specialist is off to a blazing start with 5
points in 8 games and anchoring the 2nd unit. Generously listed at 5'11"
and 175lbs., Murphy is never going to be a banger or solid two-way D man, but he
can put up points.
Rasmus Ristolainen was the 8th overall pick in this years draft and has played 8 games for the putrid Buffalo Sabres. He has 0 points and is -4. He has a man's frame at 6'3" and 200+ lbs., but I'm not exactly sure what Buffalo is thinking here...
Morgan Rielly is enjoying his second stint in the
NHL. After playing 14 games last year, Rielly made the team this year and
looks like he intends on staying. The 5th overall selection in 2012 has 4
points in 7 games and has always been more of an offensive player. At 6'1"
205lbs., he should be big enough to handle to pro game. He is another young D
man who has bypassed the AHL route and is another to watch closely.
Mathew Dumba is a very interesting prospect to keep an eye on. Minnesota is not one to rush players and Dumba only played 3 AHL games after he graduated from junior. He has scored his first
NHL goal this year but has only the one point. I don't believe his NHL
calling will be offense however his size (6'0" 185 lbs.) has always been a
point of debate. I'm almost certain Dumba will see some time in the AHL before
this season is over.
So those are just a few of the players to track. The Jets are certainly not alone in their decision to keep Trouba in the
NHL, and he is the only one of these players who was signed out of college.
It's probable that some assurances where made to the player and his advisor
before he left Michigan. God Speed on your recovery young man and good health
the rest of the season once you do!