Rangers veteran forward having newfound success this season

New York Rangers center Vincent Trocheck (16) and Carolina Hurricanes center Jesperi Kotkaniemi (82) chase the puck during the first period at Madison Square Garden
Credit: Danny Wild-USA TODAY Sports

After the New York Rangers were eliminated by the Tampa Bay Lightning in six games in the 2022 Eastern Conference Finals, general manager Chris Drury decided to make a splash on veteran centerman Vincent Trocheck.

His first season in New York was his best since 2017-18, as he put up 22 goals and 42 assists for 64 points in 2022. While his season wasn’t perfect, he has made major strides in his second season with the club.

In particular, Trocheck has improved a few key aspects of his game, leading to his breakout campaign this season.

Vincent Trocheck is a weapon in the faceoff dot

Entering Thursday’s game against the Chicago Blackhawks, Trocheck was sporting a 62.4 FOW% that sits second only behind Michael McLeod (66.4%). For Trocheck, winning faceoffs becomes more important when Artemi Panarin is on his left wing. By winning the faceoff in the offensive zone, Panarin can get set up and generate scoring chances for himself and his linemates.

“It’s extremely important to have possession of the puck,” the Rangers’ center said while motioning toward linemate and locker neighbor Artemi Panarin. “When you put the puck in Bread’s hands 60% of the time, as opposed to 30% or 40%, he’s probably going do something with it.”

via Vince Z. Mercogliano of lohud.com

Head coach Peter Laviolette said “It’s comforting as a coach” when asked about Trocheck dominating the faceoff circle.

This is nothing new for the 30-year-old centerman. Trocheck posted a 56.1 FOW% last season, which was good for third in the league and first on the Rangers, but still 6.3 points lower than this year.

His success on the dot has also been a big factor in his line being the most consistent at 5v5 for the Rangers this year.

Trocheck has developed excellent chemistry on the Rangers’ second-line

Entering the season, Vincent Trocheck centered the third line. It wasn’t until game 10, when Filip Chytil went down against the Carolina Hurricanes, that he got his chance to move back up as the second-line center. Since then, the second line has combined for 19 goals, 29 assists, for 48 points.

The three had a big game against the Tampa Bay Lightning on 12/30/23. Artemi Panarin recorded a hattrick (his second of the season), Trocheck recorded one goal and three assists, and Alexis Lafrenière recorded two assists en route to a 5-1 win.

“We’ve got good chemistry with each other right now. Having the amount of time together that we’ve had this year to build chemistry and know each other’s tendencies has been good.”

via Mollie Walker of the New York Times

Along with his success in the faceoff dot, Trocheck’s chemistry with Artemi Panarin and Alexis Lafrenière has played a key role in the team starting the year 25-10-1.

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