Ask defenseman and premier draft prospect Jacob Trouba to name his biggest strength and you might expect to hear about his sound defensive game, his puckhandling abilities or his never-back-down physicality. But when posed that very question earlier this month, the star blueliner for the U.S. National Team Development Program's U-18 squad provided a simple, but unexpected answer.
"I just love the game," Trouba said. "And so I play with a lot of passion."
His love of the game has kept him working at his, both on and off the ice. Entering his draft year, Trouba stands on the cusp of a potential top-10 selection, even in what seems to be a legendarily deep pool of defenseman.
"You may not notice his intensity unless you're around him all the time," says Danton Cole, head coach of the U.S. U-18s, who jokes he sees his players more than his kids. "But he just gets after it. Some players who are as talented as Trouba, their success comes so early they never develop that drive to improve. But he's got it. And I love seeing that look in his eye when he climbs over those boards."
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