Vincent Trocheck and Rangers had sights set on each other

After Vincent Trocheck signed with the New York Rangers, it became evident that both parties had each other very high on their respective wishlists.

Despite reports that the Rangers were speaking with pending UFA forwards Ryan Strome and Andrew Copp, it turns out that neither were really in GM Chris Drury’s plans. Many believed the issue was both players wanted too much term. Others thought it was money, and some thought it was both.

After Trocheck’s full 7-year deal terms became public, that was obviously not the case. The Rangers wanted to bring in a Gerard Gallant guy and Trocheck, who played with him in Florida, was it.

Matter of fact, the Rangers were so determined to make sure Trocheck signed with them they not only gave him a 7-year deal but trade protection which handcuffs them going forward.

  • 1 YEAR: $3M + 3M signing bonus (Full No-Move Clause)
  • 2 YEAR: $3.5M + 3M signing bonus (Full No-Move Clause)
  • 3 YEAR: $3.375M + 3M signing bonus (Full No-Move Clause)
  • 4 YEAR: $3M + 3M signing bonus (12 Team No-Trade)
  • 5 YEAR: $3M + 3M signing bonus (10 Team No-Trade)
  • 6 YEAR: $3M + 1.5M signing bonus (6 Team No-Trade)
  • 7 YEAR: $3M + 1M signing bonus (6 Team No-Trade)

Source: PuckPedia (AAV $5.625M)

Vincent Trocheck and New York Rangers wanted each other

new york rangers
Apr 26, 2022; New York, New York, USA; Carolina Hurricanes center Vincent Trocheck (16) skates with the puck against the New York Rangers during the third period at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Tom Horak-USA TODAY Sports

Trocheck, 29, registered 21 goals and 51 points with the Carolina Hurricanes last season. He is a two-way player, who is regarded as a Brad Marchand type that can score and get under your skin. Another key aspect to his game is an ability to win draws which has been a thorn in the Rangers side for what feels like a decade. For his career, Trocheck is 52.1in between the dots.

GM Chris Drury absolutely loves players that are hard to play against and Trocheck fits that description.

“It’s an important part of any hockey team and it’s a hole we wanted to address,” Drury said of the center position. “Just excited to have Vincent on board. He’s a real good player, does a lot of different things. We’re excited to have him.”

The feeling is mutual as Trocheck had the Rangers at the top of his list.

“This was one of just a few teams that we really looked at and thought it was a good fit,” Trocheck said. “Coming in we knew that New York was probably our No. 1 choice, and when they came today it was an easy decision. … Obviously, term and security is something everybody is looking for. To be able to get that was something that important to us and shows the confidence that they have in me.”

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The deal signifies that New York really wanted to change the dynamic of their second line and the makeup of their team.

Last year’s second line center, Ryan Strome signed with the Anaheim Ducks for less term and money (5 years at $5M AAV). Andrew Copp went to the Detroit Red Wings for the same money as Trocheck but two less years (5 years at $5.625M).

After signing with the Wings, Copp was on ESPN and revealed that the Rangers informed him early on they were going in a different direction. He added that the Rangers never presented an offer.

Armed with that bit of information, it’s easy to see that Drury felt the team needed to be tougher to play against in order to further in the playoffs.

How Vincent Trocheck fits with Rangers

VINCENT TROCHECK
May 10, 2022; Raleigh, North Carolina, USA; Carolina Hurricanes center Vincent Trocheck (16) celebrates his empty net goal against the Boston Bruins during the third period in game five of the first round of the 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs at PNC Arena. Mandatory Credit: James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports

Trocheck has been a target for the Rangers dating back several years. The former member of the Florida Panthers played for Gerard Gallant when he was there, so familiarity certainly played into this decision.

“He’s one of my favorite coaches that I’ve ever had,” Trocheck acknowledged. “Having him in New York was another huge draw for me to come here.”

In his 555 game career, he’s amassed 150 goals and 378 points. His best season came in 2017-18 where he notched 31 goals and 75 points in 82 contests under Gallant’s leadership.

As for how he will fit in New York, the initial plan is center Artemi Panarin.

“We talked briefly about what my role might be, slotting in as a second-line center and potentially playing with Artemi is something that we talked about,” he said. “As far as my game and the way I play, I like to think of myself as a 200′ centerman. I bring a physical aspect to my game and I won’t shy away from the corners.”

Trocheck, who admitted to never having played with anyone as talented as Panarin is excited for the opportunity. That being said, there’s a chance Trocheck’s north/south style won’t blend well with Panarin’s penchant to play east/west.

That’s why you may see a top line of Panarin with Mika Zibanejad and Chris Kreider, who will need to move to the right wing next season. Your second line could very well be Alexis Lafreniere on the left with Kaapo Kakko on the right centered by Trocheck.

At the end of the day, this is very much a win-now signing that should reap immediate benefits. The concern will be how the team juggles the upcoming contracts for Lafreniere, K’Andre Miller, and Filip Chytil next summer.

One thing that becomes abundantly clear is that with a full no-move clause for Trocheck until 2025, the clock is ticking on both Jacob Trouba and Chris Kreider. Both have full no-move clauses that become modified no-trade clauses in 2024. Between them is $14 million in cap space, which is money the Rangers will desperately need to keep their blossoming young stars.

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