Vincent Trocheck 2020-21 Season By The Numbers
- Age: 28
- NHL Seasons: 8
- Scoring: 17 goals, 26 assists, 43 points in 47 games
- Advanced Numbers: 54.38 CF%, 55.40 SCF%, 56.73 xGF%, 60.98 GF%
- Average TOI: 14:15 ES, 2:56 PP, 1:02 SH
- Contract Status: 1 year left at $4.75 million AAV
The Canes had, for years, sought a true second-line center to supplement their forward group after the emergence of Sebastian Aho as their number one.
With a rotating cast of names like Jordan Staal, Victor Rask, Erik Haula and even Derek Ryan as well as many more trying to provide some stability to the top-six, the Canes never found that right fit.
But in 2020, the Hurricanes pulled off a big move at the trade deadline to bring in Vincent Trocheck from the Florida Panthers and after a slow start to his Carolina Hurricanes’ career, it seems like they finally have the high-level player they needed.
Trocheck’s emergence created a ripple effect down the lineup, giving Nino Niederreiter and Martin Necas a stable center, providing the Hurricanes with another talented netfront power play option and, most notably, relieving some of the pressure off of captain Jordan Staal,
Trocheck’s line with Niederreiter and Necas was the Hurricanes’ most used line at even strength — with nearly 200 more minutes of ice time than the next best trio according to MoneyPuck.com.
The trio gave the Canes a reliable scoring line while the normal top line was in disarray, with Teuvo Teravainen missing most of the year due to injuries and Andrei Svechnikov going through a tough spell of scoring troubles.
Lucky enough for Carolina, the Trocheck line normally dominated opponents in terms of both possession and scoring.
A big part of Trocheck’s success can be credited to a perfect balance of high-end skill and a never-ending motor. Willing to hit, battle for pucks deep along the boards and chase and harass puck carriers all over the ice, Trocheck’s compete level was a big reason why his line worked.
His forechecking acumen fit well in the Hurricanes’ system and paired with another skilled forechecker like Niederreiter and a player who could seamlessly create space like Necas, the line was a headache for opponents.
His compete level also showed up in the amount of penalties he drew, finishing fourth on the team in total drawn minors (14).
Trocheck was also— as should be expected — in the top-five among all Canes forwards in most 5v5 advanced analytics according the NaturalStatTrick.com: 54.38 CF%, 56.28 SF%, 55.4 SCF%, 60.98 GF% and 56.73 xGF%.
The only area where he wasn’t among the top of Hurricanes’ forwards was in high-danger chance generation. Trocheck, while still having a positive HDCF%, was 11th among all Carolina forwards for high danger chances for (52.42%).
And it’s here where was can see a bit of a weakness.
Trocheck’s line was getting results with a high actual goals for percentage, but the fact was that the line was a high-risk, high-reward line.
While they normally did dominate possession, the fact that all three were aggressive forecheckers meant that any breakdown would give opponents an easier chance to create something at the other end,
A bit of a saving grace for the line however, was the fact that they had the highest total on-ice save percentage among all skaters at 5v5 — around 95% — according to NaturalStatTrick.com.
But Trocheck was brought in for his offensive abilities and the fact of the matter is that his defense isn’t anything to really be too concerned over, especially with his level of offensive production.
For one, he managed to revitalize the power play and even help lift it to a whole new level with his netfront abilities as the infusion of him onto the top unit instantly helped boost the Canes’ PP to one of the best in the league.
The Hurricanes’ 2020 power play was sunk most notably after Erik Haula’s mid-season decline because nobody was providing that same netfront presence and scoring, but the reemergence of Trocheck in that role made the unit click again this season.
He was able to facilitate getting passing lanes open from behind the net and knew when to get to the front for deflections. He was perfect for the role and really helped the Canes’ power play blossom again.
The Canes also found themselves with a three-headed beast down the middle with Aho, Trocheck and Staal all having tremendous seasons, which was all predicated on the ability of Trocheck to provide that offensive punch with the second line to force opponents to stretch their defensive assignments out.
Opponents could no longer just focus all of their attention onto Aho’s lines, and with the secondary units having to now be aware of Trochek’s line too, Staal’s line was left wide open to do some damage and that’s exactly what the captain did this season.
Trocheck was also one of Carolina’s most reliable players throughout the season in multiple facets. He was 19th in the entire league in faceoff win percentage (56%), second on the team in points (43), third in goals (17) and fourth in hits (107).
He had been seeing a sharp decline in play for a few seasons prior after his gruesome leg injury in Florida, but it finally seems that he is fully recovered from that injury and was headed back to the form that made him an all-star.
Trocheck came in clutch for the Hurricanes with quite a few timely goals, but he did run into a bit of a slump down the road, finishing off the season on a 14-game goalless drought, which stretched a bit further into the playoffs.
He also had some injury issues throughout the season and into the playoffs — missing three weeks in March due to an upper-body injury and suffering a sprained MCL against the Tampa Bay Lightning in the postseason.
But Trocheck didn’t let injuries stop him and he did manage to play the final game of the Canes’ season despite the sprain.
“It was an elimination game,” Trocheck said on playing through the injury. “It’s just the feeling that if the season was going to end, I didn’t want it to be with me in the stands and me not at least giving an effort to help my team to keep going.”
It was that attitude too that explained how Trocheck cemented himself as an integral leader in the room. Throughout the season he showcased his leadership both in his drive to succeed as well as the way his teammates were drawn to him.
Victory Hugs!!!! pic.twitter.com/cZNRcsYlSx— Carolina Hurricanes (@Canes) May 5, 2021
His leadership was also recognized by the team when he was presented the opportunity to wear the “A” in the final regular season game of the year.
Trocheck had very high expectations coming into this season based on the role he was expected to fill and despite some heightened doubts after last season, he lived up to the expectations.
How would you grade Vincent Trocheck’s 2020-21 season?
This poll is closed
A - Outstanding Performance
B - Above Average Performance
C - Average Performance
D - Below Average Performance
F - Significantly Below Average Performance