Artemi Panarin and Vincent Trocheck finally connecting for Rangers

Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Despite a few speed bumps recently, the New York Rangers continue to roll with an impressive 21-7-1 record after a 2-1 OT thriller in Boston on Saturday.

That gutsy win and phenomenal start can both partially be attributed to the budding chemistry between Vincent Trocheck and Artemi Panarin. The two linemates connected again in the 3-on-3 extra session to add to their plethora of great moments together this season as Panarin found Trocheck lurking down low for a clutch one-timer against the Bruins.

“He is unbelievable this year,” Panarin told the NY Post recently. “It’s great to have him on our team, especially on [my] line. I hope he can play like that all year, or [all his] life.”

Artemi Panarin and Vincent Trocheck have chemistry

NHL: New York Rangers at Carolina Hurricanes
James Guillory-USA TODAY SportsCredit: James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports

Trocheck’s numbers have exploded since the unfortunate injury to Filip Chytil. He now has an incredible 7 goals and 23 points in his last 19 games since centering Panarin on the second line. In a 20-game sample of the team’s current second line of Panarin, Trocheck and Lafreniere, they have 11 goals for, the highest of any line combination on the team.

While new coaching and a refreshing new culture is a big reason for the team’s incredible start, their chemistry is one aspect that seems to be overlooked. Panarin and Trocheck are each having terrific seasons, and since being placed on the same line after the injury to Chytil, their chemistry is undeniable.

Individually, each player is on pace for remarkable increases on their goal and point totals from last season. As it stands, totaling 42 points already, Panarin is on pace for just under 120 points, which would be almost a 30 point increase from last year’s final totals. The Breadman is also on pace for an equally impressive 45 goals, which would be an increase of 16 from last season. Panarin also only had 12 goals by last year’s All-Star break, and he has 16 already in mid-December this season. Vinny Trocheck with his 27 points in 29 games is on pace for around 76 points, a 12-point improvement on last season’s totals.

The numbers prove the two skilled forwards are playing better together this season, but why such a large improvement in just one year?

To start, it certainly does not hurt that Trocheck is the league-leader in faceoff win percentage on a team with the best winning percentage on draws in the entire NHL. Simply having the puck to start with one of the best passing wingers in the league is a huge advantage compared to last season. Trocheck finished last year with an impressive win percentage of 56.1%, but right now touts a staggering 63.6%, numbers that Rangers fans have dreamed of for years.

Peter Laviolette’s coaching is also a factor in bolstering their great play together. Under Gerard Gallant last year, Panarin and Trocheck paired up with so many players up and down the lineup, making consistency harder to come by for the two. Last year, they played on the wing with players like: Barclay Goodrow, Vitali Kravtsov, Kappo Kakko, Alexis Larfeniere, Patrick Kane, and Vladimir Tarasenko. Between all these players and their different styles and, in some cases, talent gaps, it is easy to see why their chemistry did not reach its full potential until this season.

As the two continue to succeed together, hope remains from the Rangers for their right-winger, Alexis Lafreniere, to produce at a similar rate. While Lafreniere is off to his best start to a season with the Rangers so far, more production is still to be desired from the young winger. As Trocheck and Panarin flourish, maybe some of their electric chemistry will rub off on Lafreniere, as he looks to prove doubters wrong in his breakout season. If all three players on the line are rolling heading into the playoffs, watch out, Eastern Conference.

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