Josh Jacobs, coming off a strong freshman season where he garnered top line minutes on the blue line, informed the Michigan State coaching staff Friday that he would not be returning to East Lansing.
<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">MSU hockey coach Tom Anastos: defenseman Josh Jacobs will not return for his sophomore season. Huge loss for improved Spartans.</p>— Chris Solari (@chrissolari) <a href="https://twitter.com/chrissolari/status/604355171406237696">May 29, 2015</a></blockquote>
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Jacobs oddly enough is following a former Spartan commit who also was drafted by the New Jersey Devils, Reid Boucher. Boucher of Grand Ledge, Michigan was a top rated recruit who decided to play for the Sarnia Sting of the Ontario Hockey League before enrolling at Michigan State. Jacobs in his freshman campaign provided 9 assists and was a rock in his own zone, especially after the injury of Travis Walsh. Jacobs was the best recruit in the Tom Anastos era and was drafted 41st overall by New Jersey in the 2014 NHL draft.
This move could have been prompted by many reasons. New Jersey recently had an organizational change when they hired Ray Shero as a new general manager. New Jersey is typically a "college friendly" organization but perhaps Shero and the scouting department felt Jacobs' development was better served with Sarnia. Sarnia is a top OHL organization and will allow Jacobs to play around 60-70 games while focusing on just hockey. College isn't for everyone, especially those who have a chance at earning money playing sports and I couldn't fault a 19 year old for wanting to play hockey in Canada and not having to go to school. May be short sighted to us older people but at 19 I would love to have an OHL team giving me calls, especially if my NHL team was involved in that call.
So what does this mean for Tom Anastos and MSU? Well, it doesn't look good. We lose a top defenseman that was going to be counted on for big minutes next season and be sure that this will be used against Anastos in recruiting. It appears that NHL organizations may have doubts with Anastos developing their investments, whether that is true or not, the illusion of that thought is there.
As far as who plays along the blue line, Jacobs is a monstrous loss. The Spartans lost Ron Boyd to graduation, Brock Krygier transferred to Arizona State, and now the Jacobs departure. Look for John Draeger, and Travis Walsh to be the leaders on the blue line, as well as needing Carson Gatt to make a leap in development.
Best of luck to Josh as he chases down his dream of playing professional hockey, and thanks for your time in the only colors.