Florida Panthers: Vincent Trocheck the 2011 Draft Class gem

SUNRISE, FL - OCTOBER 12: Vincent Trocheck
SUNRISE, FL - OCTOBER 12: Vincent Trocheck /

The Florida Panthers have rarely struck gold in the draft outside of high-end first round draft picks. However, in 2011, Vincent Trocheck bucked that trend.

Trocheck —selected in the 3rd round (64th overall) of the 2011 NHL Entry Draft —has been a main staple centering the Panthers second line for the past couple of seasons.

RELATED: Vincent Trocheck continues to grow after every season

The Pittsburgh product’s progress was initially stalled upon being drafted. The 5’10 forward needed seasoning in the AHL to work on his complete game. As well, in the summer of 2014, Florida Panthers General Manager Dale Tallon signed UFA  Dave Bolland to a five-year contract worth 27.5 million dollars.

The Bolland signing is still confusing looking back on it today considering the organizational depth at center in 2014/15 (Aleksander Barkov, Nick Bjugstad, Derek MacKenzie, Drew Shore and Trocheck, who were all capable of logging center minutes heading into training camp).

As Bolland quickly fizzled out largely due to injuries, Trocheck not only established himself as a full-time centerman on the Panthers roster, but he also supplanted Bjugstad from the second line center role by establishing great chemistry with Jussi Jokinen and Reilly Smith.

RELATED: Vincent Trocheck hoping to remain ultra-consistent

The 24-year-old’s level of points production in Panthers wins versus Panthers losses is quite startling when you compare the numbers side by side:

  • 2015/16: 42 GP, 19 G, 24 A, 43 PTS, +31 (Panthers wins) vs. 34 GP, 6 G, 4 A, 10 PTS, -16 (Panthers losses)
  • 2016/17: 35 GP, 13 G, 20 A, 33 PTS, +23 (Panthers wins) vs. 47 GP, 10 G, 11 A, 21 PTS, -36 (Panthers losses)

With Jokinen and Smith departures this past off season, the feisty forward is currently on a point-per-game pace to start the 2017-18 season.

Head Coach Bob Boughner loves the versatility Trocheck brings to his roster:

"“He’s a warrior. He’s a physical player. He plays in all situations. Real important in the faceoff circle. He does a little of everything”."

The 2011 draft has produced a lot of great young talent as evident from the chart below:

As you can see above, Trocheck is stacking up very nicely versus the elite of the 2011 draft class as primarily a second-line scoring center.

Now trying to re-create similar magic with new line mates, the same rules apply for Trocheck: To be the engine on his line, and as well, be a key cog in power play and penalty killing situations.

Trocheck has the potential to be one, if not the best player on the ice for either team on any given night. The Florida Panthers have full confidence in him doing just that on a consistent basis.