Today we are looking at a piece I highlighted this past summer in the column as a potential breakout candidate in 2017-18. You can follow this link to see the original article.
Vincent Trocheck went above and beyond even my expectations for personal improvement and established himself as the most valuable multi-category piece across the entire league in 2017-18. There is only one word to describe the diminutive forwards cross category coverage: absurd. Checking in at campaign’s end with 31 goals, 44 assists, 54 PIM, 27 PPP, 853 FOW, 289 SOG, and 145 HIT all while averaging over 21 minutes per night, Trocheck is first round-worthy going into 2018-19 for his cross category coverage. Some might look at his minus-9 and cry foul but I just won my redraft league with a roster collective -122. This statistic does not matter.
Besides just improving his overall game, the main reason for Trocheck’s ascent in his fifth season was solidifying a top spot on the primary power play alongside slick-skilled Aleksander Barkov, Jonathan Huberdeau, and Keith Yandle. Netting 27 power-play points with 13 of them being goals, Trocheck is making a name for himself outside the shadow cast by Barkov. If he was in a bigger hockey market à la Toronto, he’d be a far more household name but the misvaluation on him must end after this campaign, people. Trocheck offers an unmirrored fantasy floor night in and night out that one can’t associate with another name. This year saw him post his most goals, assists, shots, PPP, ATOI and FOW while being entrusted with more responsibility at both ends of the ice. Take notice of the fact that Trocheck scored 75 points while seeing less than 42% of his shifts start in the offensive zone. Some other guy named Barkov on the same team produces points in the same fashion while seeing more defensive zone deployment. Food for thought.
Secondary to the power play gig was Trocheck finally having a high-end linemate consistently in Jonathan Huberdeau. Paired alongside him in over 65% of his even strength shifts throughout the regular season, Trocheck produced career high goals and assists. This is by no means a coincidence as having someone who can finish your setups and reciprocates the favor even better makes fantasy magic. For those of you who are into owning pairs on your fantasy squad like I, this would be one to target as the draft price will still be reasonable despite career seasons for both. You can thank where they play for keeping their draft price fair, similar to Ryan Getzlaf. Owning the two could easily provide 140 points with perhaps 40 or more on the powerplay.
There’s no denying that the Panthers have more success when Trocheck is producing. In 44 wins he produced 24 goals and 23 assists while in 38 losses he produced only seven goals and 21 assists. That stark differential drives home the fact that he is every bit as vital to the Panthers success as Barkov. A force at BB&T Center with 44 points overall in 41 games played, the American pivot warrants higher consideration in coming drafts for what he has done in 2017-18.
Nothing in Trocheck’s statistics warrant a red flag like William Karlsson’s 43 goals on an unsustainable 23.4% shooting this season. Don’t be the guy who reaches for Karlsson next year, look at TJ Oshie’s production this campaign after 2016-17 saw him produce 33 goals shooting 23.1%. Trocheck produced his highest pts/60 ever while seeing the least offensive zone starting percentage of his career shooting 10.8%. Appreciating those three statistics together really gives you an idea of just how good this guy is. This will not be his last 30 goal season either. For those not familiar with the Pittsburgh product, Trocheck possesses one of the unquestionably deadliest releases in the league today. Case in point below:
I am not saying go out and use your first-round pick on Trocheck in a points only league, I will say that any of you in a multi-cat format could not be questioned for it by any manager that knows true player value. I called for a 30-goal campaign in the summer if his utilization was correct and that indeed happened. Trocheck is going nowhere as a featured forward on this Panthers squad and will see primary power-play time consistently here on out after leading the squad in man advantage goal scoring. Entering next season at only 25 years of age, the 80-point plateau may not be out of the question if he has yet to reach his offensive ceiling.
The Panthers are a promising squad with a young core that’s not far from consistent postseason competition. This season saw the ebbs and flows of youth but winning 25 of their last 35 games shows what the team is capable of in the future so long as a viable goaltending replacement for Roberto Luongo is found. Alongside their already established core, the Panthers have some interesting prospects in the pipeline in snipers Owen Tippett and big Henrik Borgstrom. The contention window will be long for this team if they round out the unit in proper fashion through the draft and make some savvy free agent signings. Be ready to invest in Florida’s top guns to aid in your title pursuit(s) next season.
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