The Carolina Hurricanes, like many of the Stanley Cup contenders that fell short this season, have some tough decisions to make in the summer. Four roster forwards and two defensemen will be unrestricted free agents, including second-line center Vincent Trocheck. The veteran pivot is coming off a six-year, $28.5MM deal that he signed with the Florida Panthers and is likely looking at a raise from the $4.75MM cap hit he has carried since 2016.
When asked today about whether he’d like to stay in Carolina, Trocheck told reporters including Chip Alexander of the Raleigh News & Observer that the team has “some unfinished business” and that he would welcome a return to the Hurricanes. The two sides apparently did have some conversations about a new contract during the season but no decision was reached.
Trocheck, 28, arrived in Carolina at the 2020 trade deadline and has been a nice counterpoint to Sebastian Aho and Jordan Staal, giving the team three centers that are all capable of filling various roles. All three average substantial penalty killing time, while Trocheck and Aho are both leaders on the powerplay. Combined, they give the Hurricanes a strong advantage in the faceoff circle and lengthen the lineup considerably. Trocheck’s 96 points in 135 games has been strong production, and he added another ten in 14 playoff appearances this year.
Still, there are some real critiques about the play of the former Panther as well, and the idea of bringing him back on a long-term deal may have some Hurricanes fans squirming in their seats. While Staal’s contract is set to expire after next season, the team is about to have several younger players–including Aho himself–that need new deals. Aho, Teuvo Teravainen, and Brett Pesce are all scheduled for unrestricted free agency in 2024, while Seth Jarvis will also need a new contract that summer as he comes off his entry-level deal.
The fact that Nino Niederreiter (and maybe Ian Cole) also needs a new contract this summer could also have an effect on the Trocheck negotiation, as there will only be so much money to go around. If the team feels as though they want to take another crack at it with the entire group, bringing everyone back will be an expensive proposition.
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