The Florida Panthers are about to get back a huge part of their team, as Vincent Trocheck has been activated from injured reserve. Trocheck wasn’t expected back until after the upcoming All-Star break, but could be in the lineup tonight when the Panthers take on the Toronto Maple Leafs. Florida has sent Juho Lammikko to the minor leagues to make room on the roster, though Trocheck is still considered to be a game-time decision.
It’s been nearly two months since Trocheck last suited up for an NHL game, one that ended in quite a grisly sight for the fans in attendance. As the 25-year old forward chased a loose puck in the Ottawa Senators zone, he was tangled up with Ryan Dzingel and went down awkwardly. Even the broadcast audience could hear him shout in pain as he tried to get to his feet, and he would not return. It was revealed later that Trocheck suffered a broken ankle on the play that required surgery.
Off to another great start with 14 points in 18 games—including an assist in the first period of that game—Trocheck’s absence has been a huge problem for the Panthers through the first part of the season. The team was 8-7-3 after winning against those Senators, but have gone 9-13-5 since and fell almost completely out of the race in the Eastern Conference. There is enough time for the team to climb back up, but it will have to take some great hockey over the next few months. Getting Trocheck back is a huge part of that, but the Panthers will need to find more consistent play from the rest of their roster as well. The team has currently lost seven straight, and will take on a tough Maple Leafs team tonight that beat the league-leading Tampa Bay Lightning yesterday.