The New York Rangers are close to signing high-end center Vincent Trocheck to a seven-year contract, according to Daily Faceoff’s Frank Seravalli. The Athletic’s Arthur Staple reports the contract has a cap hit of $5.625MM. Trocheck’s extension is similar to the extension Ryan Nugent-Hopkins deal from last summer, meaning it’s a contract that likely has an extended term in order to keep the cap hit as low as possible.
The Rangers’ offseason was always going to revolve around their decision-making in the second-line center spot. The team has operated with Ryan Strome there for the past four seasons, and now Artemi Panarin gets a different running mate for the foreseeable future. There were some who speculated that the cap-strapped Rangers would prioritize cap flexibility and run with playoff hero Filip Chytil in the 2C spot, but GM Chris Drury went in a different direction.
In Trocheck, the Rangers are getting the prototypical second-line center. He can be relied upon for about 50 points of offense, with the upside for considerably more in the right circumstances. Next to Panarin, though, those numbers are likely to rise. Trocheck can also bring a sound defensive game and help the Rangers fill the hole left by Kevin Rooney, who operated as a defensive specialist for the team for the past several years.
This signing, given its cap hit, is a major risk for New York. Trocheck as a player isn’t really risky at all, he’s proven himself as a capable top-six center and should continue to be that in Manhattan. But the risk here is in New York locking up another veteran player to a long-term, pricey contract. Chytil and Kaapo Kakko need new contracts this summer. Alexis Lafreniere and budding star K’Andre Miller will need new deals next summer. Something will have to give, and it will be extremely interesting to see what Drury and his front office do in order to keep their young players on Broadway.