During these hard times as I watch the Panthers struggling to find success on a nightly basis, I can’t help but day dream about the future and revel at our deep prospect pool that will one day lead us to a brighter future. Players like Jonathan Huberdeau and Drew Shore are just the tip of the ice berg when it comes to the vast amount of talented players in the Panthers’ pipeline.
In just a few year’s time, Panthers’ fans will be treated to talented skaters like Nick Bjugstad, Quinton Howden, Kyle Rau and Vincent Trocheck. While all four of those skaters are currently having spectacular years in their respective leagues, it is Vincent Trocheck that has been standing out as of late while thoroughly dominating the Ontario Hockey League (OHL).
Selected by the Panthers in the 3rd round (64th overall) in the 2011 NHL Entry Draft, Vincent Trocheck became a household name to many hockey fans this year after an impressive performance during the 2013 IIHF World Junior Championships in Russia. In 7 games for Team USA, Trocheck compiled 6 points (3G 3A) including the empty-net goal that sealed the American’s victory over Team Sweden in the championship game. Although his statistics weren’t breathtaking, Trocheck did all the little things on the ice that helped USA win the gold, including impressive defense and smart play.
It was upon his return from Russia that Trocheck really started to flourish as he returned to play with the Plymouth Whalers of the OHL. Trocheck is currently 3rd in scoring in the entire OHL, compiling 98 points (46G 52A) in just 58 games played. During the month of February, Trocheck was absolutely unstoppable, scoring in all 13 games he played in that month. Surprisingly, even with his impressive numbers, Trocheck has only won OHL player of the week honors once this season. However, if he continues his torrid scoring pace, there is a good chance that Trocheck could be in consideration for league MVP when it’s all said and done.
So the question now is what can Panthers’ fans expect from Trocheck in the future?
While he may not have the dazzling scoring abilities of Jonathan Huberdeau, a player like Trocheck is the kind of person that the Panthers need at this point. A skater whose effort is never in question and leads by example on the ice. While Huberdeau may be the team’s elite goal scorer of the future, Trocheck could be the strong 2nd or 3rd liner that wins the tough battles and fights for every loose puck.
Considering General Manager Dale Tallon is not known for rushing prospects, it is more than likely that Trocheck will find his way to AHL’s San Antonio Rampage at the beginning of the 2013-2014 season. After the recent success of both Drew Shore and Jonathan Huberdeau, expectations will be high for the soon to be 20 year-old Trocheck and some time in San Antonio will be a perfect way for him to polish his game. Until then, I encourage Panthers’ fans to keep up with Trocheck via the Plymouth Whalers’ website and track him as he looks to end his already incredible season on a high note.
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