The New York Rangers fanbase were fired up Wednesday afternoon when general manager Chris Drury and the front office announced the signing of Vincent Trocheck.
The 29-year old has been a consistent, and complete athlete that will help the Rangers in a number of different facets.
While the fanbase was mostly excited, there were still those concerned about the length of the contract that was given to the center.
A seven-year deal for a top six center isn’t exactly a surprise. But for a 29-year old center that has a knack of being physical, it could cause problems in the later years of the contract.
While there are certainly concerns about the potential longevity of a Trocheck contract, the benefits of adding a player of his skillset far outweigh the concerns.
Rangers are in title contention now
Championship windows open and close extremely quickly in any professional sport. When the Rangers had Henrik Lundqvist, the team made the conference finals or Stanley Cup finals three times in a four year window. The team was extremely successful but never able to win a championship.
The Rangers are absolutely in another championship window right now. With a plethora of young talent, veteran leadership and excellent goaltending, the Blueshirts are once again thinking about ways to win a Stanley Cup title.
When a front office sees a title window open, the should exhaust all options to try and build the best team to win right now. Not in five year, or three, but right now.
Trocheck helps the Rangers more right now than arguably Copp or even Ryan Strome (two centers who left the team in FA) right now. He has a high face-off win percentage rate, put up the same amount of points and is a better defensive player than either Copp or Strome.
The Rangers needed center help in free agency that could help them win a championship. Coming from Florida and Carolina, Trocheck has needed playoff experience as well.
When you look at the make-up of the Rangers roster as it was constructed before free agency, the team was good enough to get back to the playoffs and make a deep run.
With the addition of Trocheck, anything but a championship would be a disappointment now for the Blueshirts.
The contract isn’t as bad as you think
The obvious concern when it comes to the Trocheck contract is that he’ll be 36 years old in the final years of his deal and will carry a cap hit of over $5 million each year.
But the overall contract isn’t as bad as perceived. Trocheck’s deal has a no-move clause for the first three years of the deal (when he’ll be the most productive). The contract then moves to a 12-team no trade clause in year four, a 10-team no trade clause in year five, and a six team clause in the final two years of the deal.
To put it simply: the Rangers will be able to move Trocheck far easier in the final years of his deal when his contract could be perceived as a problem.
The Rangers have also shown they can move difficult contracts in the last 24 hours. Patrik Nemeth, a player carrying a difficult $2.5 million contract, was traded by the Rangers along with a 2025 second-round pick and a conditional future pick to the Coyotes for prospect Ty Emberson.
Trocheck’s contract in his final years will be larger than Nemeth’s was, but the concept remains the same. Moving a bad contract in the later years isn’t an impossible task that hinders the growth of a team like in other sports.
General manager Chris Drury made the correct and smart play at the advent of free agency. With the New York Rangers primes for another deep playoff run, it’s important to maximize the roster’s ability right now.
Trocheck is an upgrade to what New York was originally running with as the second line center and will only help the Rangers when the games actually start.
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