The New York Rangers 2022-23 season ended in disappointment, as they lost to the rival New Jersey Devils in the first round of the postseason. Though a lot of players struggled in the series, forwards Barclay Goodrow and Vincent Trocheck stood out because both are signed to long-term deals. They will both face pressure to bounce back this season, and the team is relying on them to play up to the expectations of their contracts.
After Goodrow helped the Tampa Bay Lightning win the Stanley Cup in back-to-back seasons, the Rangers signed him to a six-year, $21.85 million contract ahead of the 2021-22 season. The defensive forward spent the majority of his time as a winger but also spent some time as a fourth-line center.
In his first season with the Rangers, Goodrow excelled as a penalty killer and even spent part of the season playing in a top-six role along with Ryan Strome, and star winger Artemi Panarin. He finished with career-highs in both goals (13) and points (33) in 79 games. He also added grit to the team as he never passed up the opportunity to throw a check, blocked lots of shots, and stuck up for his teammates. He also took more than 700 faceoffs, winning 49.4 percent of them.
Unfortunately, Goodrow broke his ankle in the team’s first-round matchup with the Pittsburgh Penguins. Though he returned to the lineup during the Rangers’ second-round series against the Carolina Hurricanes, he was hampered by the injury. He could not skate very well but he still contributed on the penalty kill and continued to block shots. He finished the postseason with one assist in nine games.
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Last season Goodrow put up similar numbers offensively, finishing with 11 goals and 20 assists in 82 games, but he did not play as well defensively. He made some ugly giveaways at inopportune times. His faceoff percentage also dipped as he took just under 600 but won just 45.9 percent of them. In the playoffs, he finished with one goal and no assists in seven games. He played with physicality and contributed on the penalty kill, but he struggled with the speed of the Devils’ young forwards at even strength.
Though Goodrow’s contract is not ideal for a player the Rangers want to keep on their fourth line, he can certainly help them if he plays the way he did in the 2021-22 regular season.
Like Goodrow, Trocheck came to the Rangers with some playoff experience. In 2021-22 he had six goals and four assists in 14 playoff games for the Hurricanes as their second-line center. He played very well but they ended up falling to the Rangers in seven games during their second-round matchup.
The Rangers signed Trocheck to a seven-year, $39.375 million contract last offseason. They expected him to replace Ryan Strome as the team’s second-line center but he and Panarin struggled together early in the season and their line was a liability defensively. They made far too many risky passes which turned into giveaways and they also made mistakes in coverage in the defensive zone.
After the rough start, Trocheck settled in with the Rangers and played much better defensively while giving the team steady offensive production. He finished the season with 22 goals and 42 assists in 82 games, including nine goals and eight assists on the man advantage.
However, Trocheck had a disappointing postseason as he failed to generate scoring chances and had one goal and no assists against the Devils. He had just 10 shots on goal in seven postseason games after he finished the regular season with 225 shots in 82 games.
This season the Rangers need Trocheck to play the way he did late in the 2022-23 regular season.
For Goodrow and Trocheck Moving Forward
After making a run to the Eastern Conference Final during the 2021-22 season, getting eliminated in the first round last season was a step in the wrong direction for the Rangers. Both Goodrow and Trocheck had some positive stretches during the season but both struggled in the playoffs.
The Rangers made a big commitment to Goodrow and Trocheck with their long-term deals, and now they need to come through this season in order for the team to reach its full potential.