Not many 2012 draft eligible players have entered the 2011-2012 regular season with as many question marks as Seattle Thunderbirds forward Branden Troock.
The 6'3, 200+ pound winger missed the entire 2010-2011 WHL season with a variety of unnamed injuries. Heading into that season he was being pegged as the next potential power forward to come out of the WHL.
Despite the year off, it doesn't look like that expectation has changed much.
Even with his massive size, Troock moves well on the ice. He skates well enough to get involved in transition hockey, which is also a big key for a powerforward as they can create a ton of openings by driving the net when the time is right. He doesn't have the best acceleration in regards to his skating, but once he gets going he's tough to slow down.
He truly embraces the role of a powerforward as he's a physical force along the wall and isn't afraid to take his size to the high traffic areas.
Along with his physical attributes, Troock is also a smart player. He shows above average hockey sense and seems to understand what he needs to do to make a difference in a hockey game. He reads the play well and isn't afraid to get involved in scoring through transition, as I mentioned.
Neither his shooting or playmaking is well above average but it doesn't seem to hold him back either.
Early this season I see alot of similarities between Troock and another WHL powerforward named Adam Lowry. I loved Lowry's game early last season for Swift Current and he transferred his skills into a 3rd round selection by the Winnipeg Jets in the 2011 NHL draft. I think Troock could do the same this season, despite all the ups and downs he's had to overcome fairly early in his hockey career.