Drafted 114th by the Dallas Stars.
With all the injuries in this year’s draft class, its rare to write a story about a prospect whose season was remarkable for the fact that he was able to stay healthy. That is the profile we have for you today, and that prospect is Branden Troock of the Seattle Thunderbirds. Branden Troock played just 9 games in the 2009-10 season, and then missed the entire 2010-11 season suffering from both a suspected concussion, and an injury to his neck. He returned to the Seattle lineup this year and while it took him some time to get up to speed he got better and better as the year went on. Troock scored the winning goal for Team Orr at the CHL Top Prospects game and was named the player of the game for his efforts. That night was just a glimpse of what Troock has to offer, and if he has finally put his injury issues behind him, he is an intriguing power forward prospect, but one who may be a bit of a project as he’s missed out on some serious development time. He compares favourably to Tom Wilson, who we ranked over 30 spots ahead of Troock, some might even say that Troock has more pure talent than Wilson.
Born Mar 20 1994 — Edmonton, Alberta
Height 6.03 — Weight 203 — Shoots Right
Troock is a very good skater for his size. He has good acceleration and very good top end speed. Troock has good use of his edges and has good agility, both of which help him to be able to make quick, tight turns and pivots. Troock has extremely good balance and is very strong on his skates; which makes him extremely difficult to knock off the puck.
Troock uses that good skating ability to its full advantage in the offensive end of the rink. Off the rush he loves to take the puck wide on a defender and then cut to and drive the net hard looking for an offensive chance. On the forecheck he is punishing, using his size and speed to make defenders think they’ve been hit by a truck. He uses his size and strength to win board battles and to get to the front of the net. Troock has a hard, accurate shot, with a decent but not great release. Troock’s hockey sense and decision making were poor at the start of the season, however these have really come around with more playing time and as Troock has found his groove. His second half of the season was much better than the first half of the year. His vision and playmaking skills are a weakness however as we’d say they are below average when looking at the forwards we’ve ranked to date.
Troock is adequate defensively, but is continuing to improve. Early in the year his defensive positioning and ability to read and react to plays was really behind. However as he got more and more games under his belt these aspects of his game really improved to the point where he is no a decent defender. His strength and ability to win board battles is of great use in the defensive zone, as is his willingness to throw his weight around. Overall continued improvement defensively is required, but Troock has really shown that it is something that is getting better all the time.
As we said earlier, Troock is a bit of a project, however we have seen all aspects of his game improve throughout the year with more and more playing time. We believe his max potential is to become a player similar to Ryan Malone of the Tampa Bay Lightning. However there is risk here due to the long layoff, and without the scoring touch developping he might end up as a third liner. Of course there is also the risk that the missed development time will be too much to overcome, or that his injuries will reoccur causing him to bust out completely. For these reasons Troock is a serious boom or bust candidate ans has been downgraded in our ranks accordingly.
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