Vicent Trocheck carries special season for Rangers into Stanley Cup Playoffs

NHL: Stanley Cup Playoffs-Washington Capitals at New York Rangers
Dennis Schneidler-USA TODAY Sports

The newest member of the Steven McDonald Extra Effort Award club went above and beyond in the New York Rangers four-game sweep in the Eastern Conference First Round against the Washington Capitals. Vincent Trocheck, the Swiss army knife of this Rangers squad, carried his regular-season excellence into the postseason and continued to be a major difference maker for the Blueshirts.

Trocheck entered the playoffs after an All-Star regular season, when he scored an NHL career-high 77 points (25 goals, 52 assists) in 82 games. After replacing the injured Filip Chytil on the second line in November, Trocheck helped bring out the best in linemates Artemi Panarin and Alexis Lafreniére. 

The 30-year-old not only put up points, but was a stalwart defensively and played a huge role in both special teams. Trocheck also was second in the NHL among players who took at least 1,000 face-offs, winning 58.7 percent of his draws.

And he’s carried all of that success into the postseason.

Related: Jacob Trouba among Rangers unsung heroes in first-round sweep

Trocheck continuing a great season so far in the playoffs

NHL: Stanley Cup Playoffs-Washington Capitals at New York Rangers
Credit: Dennis Schneidler-USA TODAY Sports

Trocheck finished the first round second on the Rangers with six points and led them with three goals. He was clutch on the power play scoring twice, and tenacious on the penalty kill. 

Every player on the first power-play unit touched the puck before Trocheck’s finish to give the Rangers a 2-1 lead in the first period of Game 4. The Rangers excelled with the man up this series, when they were 6-for-16, and 3-for-4 in Game 4. Trocheck had three power-play points, tied for second on the Blueshirts.

After completing the sweep, Trocheck gave an insightful answer when asked why the unit has been so successful

“You’re always working to try to get better and we’ve been trying to incorporate some more things and some more movement,” Trocheck said. “If we get a little bit stale we want to be able to move around and generate offense”.

The Rangers have historically struggled at the face-off dots. From the 2009-10 season on, the Blueshirts have not ranked higher than 14th in the League in any season. Trocheck has been a key reason why the team ranked fourth in face-off win percentage during the regular season.

He has carried his face-off success into the playoffs in a big way. Against the Capitals, Trocheck won an astounding 71.2 percent of his face-offs.

Chris Drury and a majority of this year’s Rangers team know how hard it is to play against Trocheck during the playoffs. The Rangers faced Trocheck and the Carolina Hurricanes in a spirited seven-game series in the 2022 postseason. 

His relentless play, ability to get under opponents’ skin, and constant forecheck make him an ideal playoff performer. Drury and the Rangers signed Trocheck to a seven-year, $39.38 million contract just a few months after the Rangers eliminated the Hurricanes in the 2022 Eastern Conference Second Round.

The Rangers have reaped the benefits of having Trocheck on their side. Trocheck’s scoring certainly helps the team, but his value runs a lot deeper. From board battles and defensive zone coverage, Trocheck is the player the Rangers need for a deep playoff run.

Trocheck and the Rangers took care of business in the first round, but the brooms must be put away. The top-tier teams of the East still stand in the way of the Rangers quest for the Stanley Cup.

And next up could Trocheck’s former team, since the Hurricanes lead the Islanders 3-1 in their best-of-7 series heading into Game 5 in Raleigh on Tuesday.

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