In another perfect storyline from a perfect night in Sunrise, Florida Panthers rookie centerman Vincent Trocheck was spectacular in his NHL debut, showing off his speed, explosiveness and playmaking ability that made him the top scorer for the San Antonio Rampage – the AHL affiliate of the Panthers.
Coach Peter Horacheck didn’t waste any time getting the 20-year old forward some playing time, as Trocheck played over 17-minutes – the fifth highest total among forwards. His first shot on net was a hard (and apparent well placed) slap shot that had goaltender Michael Neuvirth slow getting to his feet.
He showed speed going around and separate from the defender to get the shot off, and finished with three shots in net. With eight power play opportunities, Trocheck earned his playing time with the man advantage playing over four minutes and showed some great hustle and passing ability.
All though leading the Rampage in points and also leading the entire Ontario Hockey League in points last year, Trocheck showed he has a good two-way game – spending some time on the penalty kill, which included being on the ice during the crucial last kill of the game.
Part of the reason he was a must play shorthanded was his faceoff win percentage on defensive zone draws – winning 86% of them (6-of-7), and won 8-of-18 overall including a perfect 4-for-4 against Sabres top center Cody Hodgson.
Some teams like to ease their rookies into playing time, but a team like Florida can just throw out their young guns and let them learn on the fly. There wasn’t much to complain about with the Panthers’ play, and Trocheck was just as much a part of the team’s success as the goal scorers.
Make sure to follow The Rat Trick on Twitter and ‘like’ the official Facebook page. You can follow me on Twitter @AMurphyTRT.