A year ago, Vincent Trocheck was a key member in the Carolina Hurricanes winning the Metropolitan division over the New York Rangers.
Trocheck’s success with the team was shortlived in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, though, when Artemi Panarin, Mika Zibanejad, and the Rangers outlasted the Hurricanes in seven games in the Eastern Conference Semifinals.
As the two teams get set to face off for the first time since their Game 7 showdown, they’ll do so with their rosters far different than when they previously met. Both teams are also on different trajectories right now in their season as well.
Carolina is in the midst of an 11-game winning streak and a 10-1 mark against division foes. Even with Trocheck no longer on the roster, the Hurricanes have had as balanced a scoring group as you will find across the league and have been one of the NHL’s best teams this season.
It’s been quite different for the New York Rangers. After a slow start to the season that saw several line changes, the Blueshirts have recorded points in eight of their last ten contests. Trocheck is fourth on the team in points and third in goals as he’s helped solidify the Rangers’ offensive attack.
Since signing a seven-year, $39,375,000 deal in the offseason, Vincent Trocheck has been a consistent bright spot for the Rangers in a season full of roller-coaster twists and turns. His face-off win percentage of 56% is currently a career-high and has helped improve New York’s tally to 24th in the entire NHL.
While not sounding like an improvement, the Rangers were 31st in face-off win percentage last season. Trocheck’s help in the penalty kill and powerplay may be mixed with frustrating results at times, but his ability to help out in any facet of the game has made him an indispensable part of the Rangers’ turnaround.
For that turnaround to continue though, New York will need to do something that has only happened once this season: beat the Carolina Hurricanes as a divisional foe. A win will not only end Carolina’s 11-game winning streak but also be a barometer of how far the Rangers will need to go to compete for a Stanley Cup title.
It’ll mean even more for Vincent Trocheck against his former team.