Let’s not get ahead of ourselves, let’s not start rumours, but let’s just daydream a little bit about what it would be like to have Vince Trocheck as a right-handed center for the Vancouver Canucks. At this point any right-handed center would be nice, but a hard working, tough-as-nails pivot with some scoring ability would be a large bonus.
While both he and Canucks center JT Miller may have played some youth hockey in the Pittsburgh area, by age 13 Trocheck had skedaddled off to Detroit to play for the LIttle Caesar’s program where he led his U13 team with 60 points in 31 games. In the same program two seasons later he was a 15-year-old playing with the Under-18 team. Then it was off to the Ontario Hockey League and the Saginaw Spirit for most of four seasons. He finished with the Plymouth Whalers.
Miller took a bit longer to gain some offensive momentum, moving through the Pittsburgh Hornets AAA Midget (U18) club before joining USA Hockey’s National Team Development Program. He did spend one season with the Whalers in the OHL as well, one year ahead of Trocheck’s arrival.
Just for comparison, when they were both in the league in 2011-’12, Trocheck finished tied for ninth in scoring with 85 points while MIller finished 49th with 61.
The two finally crossed paths for real as Team USA cohorts when they helped win World Junior Championship Gold in Ufa, Russia in 2013. Miller finished the tournament tied for fifth in scoring with nine points. Trocheck had an assist and then the empty net goal with 16-seconds left to seal the 3-1 victory in the final game against Sweden. The lone assist went to JT Miller.
Having them both skating for the Vancouver Canucks would be a feisty, angry, hard to play against affair. Unfortunately there are a number of issues with this scenario.
It would likely mean the end of Bo Horvat with the Canucks. Not only would there be a logjam at the center position – Elias Pettersson ain’t going anywhere – but affordability would make things impossible. Trocheck is an unrestricted free agent (UFA) this summer while Miller is due a big raise prior to the next.
Could bringing Trocheck in actually mean moving Miller out? That’s another scenario. JT is expected to make $9-million (plus) per season with his next deal. Trocheck is just finishing up getting $4.75-million per season with Carolina, with a team-friendly six-year contract he originally signed with the Florida Panthers.
Then there’s the story out Thursday saying how Hurricanes GM Don Waddell wants to hold on to Trocheck. He’d better hurry. July free agency might look awfully enticing to a 28-year-old looking for some extra cash.
“We certainly hope they are both back (also referring to Nino Niederreiter), but it takes two sides,” Waddell told NHL.com. “But I will have more dialogue with their agents in the next little bit and see where they’re at”
That door might be open.
As for a trade scenario, Waddell and Vancouver Canucks President of Hockey Operations Jim Rutherford are best bud’s.
Just in case (tongue slightly in cheek) 22-year-old recent signee Linus Karlsson isn’t ready, there are other UFA right-shot centers the Vancouver Canucks can eyeball this summer: Ryan Strome of the Rangers, also age-28, is still skating in the playoffs. He might also fit the Miller-back-to-New-York trade talk that always seems to linger.
Otherwise it’s actually slim pickens.
The other top righties: If Patrice Bergeron keeps playing, he’s playing for Boston, and recent Florida Panthers trade deadline pick-up Claude Giroux is 34-years-old.