The New York Rangers have signed forward Vincent Trocheck to a 7-year contract with a cap hit of $5.625 million in average annual value, according to Arthur Staple who covers the team for The Athletic.
Selected 64th overall by the Florida Panthers in the 2011 NHL Draft, Trocheck has proven to be a steal where he was drafted. With 150 goals and 378 points in 555 games, he is the highest-scoring player of the third round and has the 12th-most goals of the entire draft class. Suffice it to say, I think the Panthers made a good choice selecting him as he had some of his best seasons in the Sunshine State with three straight 20-goal seasons, culminating in a career-best 31 goals and 75 points in 2017-18 at the age of 24.
Related: 2022 NHL Free Agent Tracker
Unfortunately for him and the Panthers, Trocheck fell back to earth the following season finishing with 10 goals and 34 points in 55 games, which ended up forcing a trade to the Carolina Hurricanes at the deadline. He ended up being fairly productive over his two campaigns in Raleigh, finishing with 39 goals and 96 points in 135 games. That included a 2022 Playoff run of six goals and 10 points in 14 games that most definitely helped him get the contract he is enjoying now.
What Trocheck Brings to the Rangers
For the Rangers, signing Trocheck immediately makes them a better team as he can play up and down the lineup on both the power play and penalty kill. He is also elite in the faceoff circle having finished with a mark above 50 percent in six of his nine seasons in the NHL. In addition to all that, he is a machine in the hitting department, eclipsing the century mark in seven straight campaigns. Finally, he is a play driver with a career Corsi-for percentage of 55.6, which means his team has the puck more often than not when his blades are on the ice.
Trocheck should immediately slot in on the second line alongside Artemi Panarin, occupying the spot previously held by Ryan Strome. He will also bring a positive presence to both special teams. On a team that struggled in the faceoff department last season, he should also boost their possession numbers in all areas. Dominance in the dot is important, especially when you have skilled players like Panarin, Mika Zibanejad, and Chris Kreider, who all thrive when the puck is on their stick. All in all, he could turn out to be one of the most valuable free-agent signings of the 2022 class.
Rangers Bolster Second Line Behind Zibanejad
After going with a borderline second-line center in Strome for the past few seasons, the Rangers have bolstered their second wave of attack by signing Trocheck. They now have an enviable one-two punch with Zibanejad for potentially the next five years. His versatility, grit and possession-driven game will not only boost an already lethal power play (4th in 2021-22) and improve their penalty kill but he will also improve their five-on-five game. In fact, he could potentially even get back to the 30-goal form he saw back in Florida with an elite playmaking winger like Panarin feeding him pucks. All in all, a great signing for the Rangers who were tantalizingly close to an appearance in the Stanley Cup Final last year.