Rangers see Vincent Trocheck-Chris Kreider pairing develop into important piece to team’s puzzle

Rangers take Game 2 in 5-1 win
New York Rangers’ Chris Kreider reacts after scoring against the Montreal Canadiens during the second period of an NHL hockey game in Montreal on Thursday, Jan. 5, 2023. (Graham Hughes/The Canadian Press via AP)
AP Photos

When Vincent Trocheck came to the New York Rangers during the 2022 offseason, the belief was that his skillset would match Artemi Panarin’s well on the second line and bring in career numbers. 

That hasn’t gone exactly to plan, but Trocheck has found a new partner on his line that seems to be producing pretty solid numbers with Panarin moving to the top line. 

Chris Kreider hasn’t been close to his 50-goal season last year, but his 21 current goals are still second on the team. While his demotion from the top line with his best friend, Mika Zibanejad, left several fans concerned about his long-term ability, his newest partner has already produced pretty well. 

In New York’s 4-3 win over the Vancouver Canucks Wednesday night, the Kreider-Trocheck pairing capitalized in the first period with a breakaway goal while adding seven hits combined and over 13 minutes of ice time. 

As the Rangers and head coach Gerard Gallant continue to try and find the right combination of lines to better prepare for the grueling final months of the NHL season, how Vincent Trocheck and Chris Krider play together will be an important key to watch. So far, the results have been promising, even if they’ve only played together now for two games. 

“They’re coming. We had a break,  but everyone played well. It was a bit sloppy at times but I thought it was an exciting game.” Gallant said before the team’s contest on Wednesday. 

Whether the two veterans are paired with Barclay Goodrow or Jimmy Vesey, the straight-line scoring ability of both Kreider and Trocheck offers a unique approach to defending the Rangers. With the speed of the Kid Line and dominance of the top line with Zibanejad and Panarin, having the basic, but physical game that the duo brings will make the Rangers even more difficult to sop. 

Even with a difficult win on Wednesday, there was plenty to be pleased about as well. 

“It was a grind. There were times we were playing well and playing the right way. Then there were times we got away from our game. Just need to clean up those areas.” Trocheck explained afterward. 

As the trade deadline draws nearer, the easier it is to see the Rangers’ outlook for the rest of the 2022-23 regular season. And as long as Vincent Trocheck and Chris Kreider are continuing to improve together, the more dangerous New York will be. 

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