For much of 2022, there’s been questions over who would be lineup alongside Artemi Panarin and behind Mika Zibanejad in the second line center spot. With last year’s choice Ryan Strome heading to free agency, and second option Andrew Copp preferring to head to his home state of Michigan, the focus turned to first the trade market and finally ended up with a choice from free agency.
Former Carolina Hurricane Vincent Trocheck joins the Rangers two days after turning 29, having completed a six year contract, half of which was with the Rangers second round playoff opponent these past playoffs.
Signed for a term of seven years at an AAV of $5.625M, Trocheck gets a bit of an increase over his prior $4.75M and becomes part of the Rangers run for the Stanley Cup over the next handful of seasons. The 5-10 183lb Pittsburgh born Trocheck brings a solid second line option, though perhaps has underperformed on the offensive side throughout his career. At first blush, the seven year commitment seems a lot for a second line center, though likely helped keep the annual value lower.
His best year came back in 2017-18 when he put up career highs of 31 goals, 44 assists and 75 points, which occurred in the season following Gerard Gallant’s unceremonious departure from the Panthers. Also of note were the 43 points in 47 games he put up with the Hurricanes in the shorted 2020-21 season. He has reached 20 goals on four occasions, and was well above that pace in 2020-21 with 17 goals.
An all-situations player, Trocheck saw the second most PP time of any Canes forward, and third most on the penalty kill. His 54.6% Faceoff percentage last year, is also a welcome addition, and he’s been a 50+ faceoff guy for the past six seasons, with a career 52.1% mark. It should be noted that Carolina was one of the best faceoff teams in the league, so how it translates to New York remains to be seen.
Expectations will be that Trocheck will slide into Strome’s vacated second line center spot, and perhaps get a similar offensive bump playing alongside Panarin as his predecessor did. He’s also likely to get a shot at playing on the first unit PP and as a penalty killing forward.