The New York Rangers have signed former Carolina Hurricanes center Vincent Trocheck to a seven-year deal, according to the Daily Faceoff’s Frank Seravalli on Wednesday afternoon just minutes after the NHL’s free-agency period began.
Per the Athletic’s Arthur Staple, the deal is worth an average annual value (AAV) of $5.625 million.
The 29-year-old is coming off one of his best statistical seasons as a pro by totaling 51 points and 21 goals. Both were the highest Trocheck had recorded since the 2017-18 season with the Florida Panthers.
New York was in the market for a second-line center to replace the loss of free-agent Andrew Copp, who is not expected back in New York next year. Ryan Strome and Frank Vatrano are other players that could potentially walk in free agency, which only enhanced the need to bolster the middle of the Rangers’ forward group.
Trocheck, for now, is expected to slot onto the second line for Gerard Gallant — a head coach he has plenty of experience with. He played under Gallant for three seasons in Florida and put up a career-best 75 points during the bench boss’ final season with the Panthers.
A well-balanced weapon, the Pittsburgh, PA native is a face-off specialist, winning 52% of draws over his career. The Rangers were 24th in faceoff win percentage (48.1%) last season, so an improvement there is also warranted. With the former Hurricane joining an offense already consisting of Artemi Panarin, Mika Zibanejad, and Chris Kreider, the Blueshirts are looking at another season with a top-scoring offense.
There was a concern before the signing about the number of years given to the 29-year-old center. With Filip Chytil having a breakthrough postseason, the expectation that he will be ready to claim the second center spot in a few years loomed large on any contract given to Trocheck.
Still, for a team that has Stanley Cup aspirations, a well-balanced weapon like Trocheck will only help add enough firepower to compete in a loaded Metropolitan Division.