Four Compuware Youth Alums Taken in 2012 NHL Entry Draft
Photo - (From left) Jacob Trouba, Andy Copp, Patrick Sieloff. Photo credit - Compuware Youth Program
The Compuware Youth Program has developed players at all levels of the game for over 30 years.
To that end, four players from a recent 1994 Compuware team were selected in the 2012 National Hockey League Entry Draft, held June 22-23 in Pittsburgh.
Defenseman Jacob Trouba was selected in the first round (ninth overall) by the Winnipeg Jets; Patrick Sieloff was taken in the second round (42nd overall) by the Calgary Flames; center Brady Vail was selected in the fourth round (94th overall) by Montreal; and left wing Riley Barber was taken by Washington in the sixth round (167th overall).
All four players skated for several years for Compuware head coach Andy Copp. The group literally grew up and won championships together. As Pee Wees, they won state and national championships in 2007. In 2009 (playing as bantams) the team repeated, winning state and national championships. In 2010, the group won the state midget minor title.
“There is a great message that hockey parents need to remember that applies to all of these guys,” said Copp.
“Many years, these guys weren't the best players on the team. They didn't get more ice-time, power-play or penalty kill time than others on the team and they didn't jump from team to team chasing the greener grass.
“They just worked extremely hard both with the team and on their own, pushed each other in practice, and just stayed focused on getting better each day.”
Trouba, Sieloff and Barber skated this past season for the National Team Development Program in Ann Arbor; Vail completed his second season with the Windsor Spitfires of the Ontario Hockey League.
All four are veterans of the Compuware Youth program.
“Trouba played for Compuware for five years, Sieloff for four years and Barber and Vail for three years each,” Copp said.
“I take a lot of pride in all of their development, especially Trouba and Seiloff. Seiloff came to us from AA and you could see potential, but he had clumsy feet and had some catching up to do. To his credit he has worked extremely hard to catch and pass most others in their development and he will continue to do so.
“I remember Jacob Trouba’s first year with our team. We had several good defenseman that got picked for a summer select team and Jacob got passed over. He used that as a motivating point and made sure that the following year he was selected. Jacob has always been an extremely focused competitor.”
In taking Trouba ninth overall, the Jets felt they were getting a well-rounded player who, in time, will play a lot of critical minutes on the Winnipeg blue line.
"The good thing about Jacob is his frame and the nuances of playing defense’ said Danton Cole, Trouba’s head coach for the NTDP U-18’s. “He came in as an elite player and his thirst for being better at the position is really good. He loves to practice and he wants to be the best player on the ice every night. He's one of the top kids I've ever had the pleasure of coaching.
"Off the ice, he is a pretty reserved young man and very respectful. You really wouldn't expect, when you talk to him off the ice, to see how he plays on the ice. It's almost two different human beings. On the ice, I always say he's like an NHL guy. He understands how to practice and he works hard, and game-wise, he amps it right up."
Trouba is committed to play for the University of Michigan in 2012-13.
Sieloff was originally taken in the Ontario Hockey League Priority Selection by the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds, but his rights were traded to Windsor. Plymouth Whalers fans could see Sieloff eight times in 2012-13.
"I'm looking forward to that," Sieloff said of going to Windsor at the NHL Entry Draft. "I've been up there a couple times now ... Basically, I don't think I could have gone to a better organization in the OHL. The way they do things and put guys in the NHL ... it's awesome."
“It’s a huge signing for us,” Windsor president and head coach Bob Boughner said. “It takes care of a major, major hole in our lineup. If you look at our lineup last year and its strengths and weaknesses, one weakness was a pure shutdown defenseman and a physical element back there and that’s what Pat will bring.”
“I always liked him from midget and fans will love his warrior mentality,” Spitfires general manager Warren Rychel said of Sieloff. “This is a big piece for us. He has great experience playing in the world championships and solidifies things. He’s a good, reliable, rugged defenseman and that’s a big piece.”
Vail may have come to Windsor two years ago as a scorer, but he developed into a reliable, two-way player.
"Once you know a guy's willing to play that role and is effective, that's a big bonus," said Chris Edwards, who scouts for the NHL Central Scouting Bureau. "Vail’s hard-working, competitive and a good penalty killer. He's a guy that could play on your second line or maybe third line duty, but I think he has a good enough skill set that he could play a second-line role."
"Vail's a player I have a lot of trust in,” said Boughner. “He can play top-end minutes, he's in very good shape and a great skater. That allows him to play heavy minutes. I think he's responsible in his own end and plays against top lines in a shut-down role. He also has offense to his game."
Like his Compuware ‘94 teammates, Barber brings a blue collar approach to the rink.
“I think I have the potential to do whatever my team needs me for my team to win,” Barber said at the NHL Entry Draft. “I can put pucks in the net, I can kill penalties, I can block shots, I can be an all around player that all teams need. Second line, third line, fourth line, whatever the team needs. I’m a team guy.”
“Riley joined us after one year, this is the second year and he tied for leading goal scorer on the team,” Cole said. “He’s got a pro shot, another kid with a real high compete level and hates to lose, his battle level is real good. He does a lot of things, he’s kind of a pro winger, he gets pucks out, he understands the subtleties of the game, he’s got a good physical aspect to his game. As I said, he’s got an NHL shot, he’s a goal scorer.”