Welcome to the 2021 Edition of the Vancouver Canucks Top 25 Under 25 Rankings. The list includes all players born after January 1st, 1997. Seven staff writers (Beggsy, Westy, Kent Basky, CanucksAbbyFan2, Markus Meyer, Noah Strang, Harsunder Singh H ) and two outside writers (Daniel Gee & Cam Robinson) cast votes for the project.
In many cases, it’s a good situation to play on a stacked hockey team.
However, being in a good situation can sometimes hurt a player as well.
Last year was a bit tumultuous for Jacob Truscott. He played on a Michigan team that boasted two top defensive prospects in Cam York (PHI, #14 overall in 2019) and Owen Power. The other three regular defenceman in the lineup were all 21 and older, whereas Truscott was an 18-year-old freshman.
Truscott was pushed down the line-up onto the third pair, and he also shifted over to play the right side.
Like many young hockey players, Truscott had to adjust his game from being “the guy” to being a role player. For the Ann Arbour native, that meant less offence, more defence.
“My main focus coming into the year was just to work on my defensive game,” Truscott recently told Chris Faber of Canucks Army. “I wanted to be able to defend against the older and stronger guys. We had a great defence core, so I had to find my role within the team and I thought it turned out great. I was able to work on my game and just focus on that. My penalty killing was a great focus for me and hopefully next year I can fill in a bigger role and have that defensive role in the game.”
Since I ripped him earlier, this was a nice play by Jacob Truscott to neuter a rush threat. pic.twitter.com/Id0WwHdLVN— /Cam Robinson/ (@Hockey_Robinson) December 9, 2020
Despite the difficult adjustments, Truscott was still viewed highly enough by USA Hockey to be invited to their World Junior Summer Showcase. Reports from the tournament suggested that Truscott looked speedy, poised and intelligent while playing alongside better defensive partners.
What’s Next for Truscott?
Unfortunately for Truscott, Michigan won’t be any less stacked on the back end next season. York has departed for the Flyers’ organization, but fourth overall pick Luke Hughes will now patrol the blueline in Michigan, alongside Power.
That being said, the fact that Truscott played both sides on defence for the Wolverines last season probably bodes in his favour. Because of that, he could potentially play in a top-four role next season.
In all likelihood, the 2022-23 season will be Truscott’s time to shine. By that point, there’s a good chance that both Power and Hughes will have departed for Buffalo and New Jersey respectively, leaving the door open for the Canucks’ fifth rounder to be “the guy” for the Wolverines.
There’s also an outside chance that Truscott could play for the United States at the upcoming World Juniors, but recent projections would probably suggest that it’s a longshot. It’s still possible, but Truscott would really have to blow the doors off in limited minutes with Michigan.