Vincent Trocheck a catalyst for New York Rangers rise in standings

NHL: New York Rangers at Nashville Predators
Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Rangers have been one of the best teams in hockey. They have lost only five games in regulation this season and sit tied atop the NHL standings with the Boston Bruins and Vegas Golden Knights at 37 points. Also in that time period, Vincent Trocheck has been playing on the second line, centering Artemi Panarin and Alexis Lafreniere.

This has been one of the best lines in the NHL over the last month. Once being moved to the second line, Trocheck exploded offensively and has been playing some of the best hockey we have seen.

“That line (Panarin-Trocheck-Lafreniere) has been really good,” Peter Laviolette mentioned. “Obviously, there’s chemistry with the three of them, and they’ve been a line that’s been producing now consistently all year. Right now they’re on top of their game, they’re driving our team.”

Vincent Trocheck a key cog for the Rangers

NHL: Detroit Red Wings at New York Rangers
Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

So far this season, Trocheck has amassed 22 points (6G-16A) in 24 games. However, 18 of those points did not come until he was put on the second line. He had only one goal and three assists in the month of October.

Trocheck has served as a catalyst for the Rangers’ fine play. Another contributing factor has been his incredible win rate in the face-off circle. Trocheck has been the best face-off man in the league thus far. Amongst players with 300 or more face-offs, he ranks first with a 63.3% win percentage. Gaining puck possession has been crucial for New York as they have the highest face-off win percentage in the NHL at 56.1%.

While the 30-year-old forward has been a huge help over the last month, he has really made his presence known in the Blueshirts’ current win streak, which is now up to three games following Sunday night’s victory over the San Jose Sharks.

Prior to losing to the Senators on Tuesday, Trocheck has one goal and five assists along with a plus/minus rating of +5 in three-straight wins. Having won each of those games by one goal, a plus/minus rating that high proves how effective Trocheck has been. The highlight of this win streak came on Saturday against the Nashville Predators where he recorded a goal and two assists. Without the fine play of Trocheck, it would have been nearly impossible to pull out the win in that contest.

“He really cranked it up,” explained Laviolette. “He played a great game.”

In addition to his points, Trocheck’s style of play has been working very well in the Rangers system. He plays fast, hard, and gets under the opponent’s skin. This benefits the entirety of the team. He has received high praise from Laviolette this year.

“He’s a competitor,” Laviolette went on to say. “It’s not in a dirty way, but he competes hard on everything. When you’re constantly competing on pucks and challenging for pucks, I think it brings out the best in everybody. He’s a warrior.”

Trocheck is currently tied for 2nd place on the Rangers in points alongside Chris Kreider with 22. At this pace, he is currently projected to finish the season with 78 points. This would surpass his career best of 75, which came in the 2017-2018 season with the Florida Panthers.

Many people were concerned about the Rangers’ decision to sign Trocheck to a 7-year deal with an AAV of $5.625 million. The concern was that he was aging past his prime and would not be able to keep up the level of play that had such a high level of impact with the Florida Panthers and Carolina Hurricanes. In his second year of that contract, he is playing some of the best hockey yet.

Scoring, playing hard, killing penalties, and being the best at face-offs in the NHL. That is Vincent Trocheck’s game, and he has been a core piece for this dominant New York Rangers team.

Dane Walsh is a life-long fan of the New York Rangers. Growing up in the tri-state area, Dane has... More about Dane Walsh