The trade of forward Vincent Trocheck by the Florida Panthers this week exemplifies the current state of the franchise.
After six full seasons in Sunrise, Trocheck was sent to the Carolina Hurricanes on Monday at the NHL trade deadline.
— NHL Network (@NHLNetwork) February 24, 2020
In year seven with the Panthers, Trocheck battled injuries and inconsistency throughout the first half.
After playing a full 82 games in both 2016 and 2017, injuries stalled Trocheck in the last two campaigns.
Trocheck appeared in 55 games for the Panthers prior to the deal, the same number he played all of last year.
He leaves with 10 goals and 16 assists, which are well below his career averages.
Trocheck had a career high 31 goals in 2017 and averaged over 26 goals per season from 2015 to 2017.
His uneven performance ultimately made him a casualty of a much needed roster shuffle.
Florida acquired forwards Erik Haula, Lucas Wallmark and Eetu Luostarinen along with defenseman Chase Priskie.
Before Carolina, Haula spent his first four years in Minnesota before joining Vegas for the last two seasons.
He appeared in 41 games for Carolina this year, tallying 12 goals and 10 assists. Haula should have an opportunity on the second and third forward lines, and has 44 games of postseason experience on his resume.
#FlaPanthers morning skate forwards…
Huberdeau Barkov Dadonov
Vatrano Haula Hoffman
Connolly Wallmark Saarela
Sceviour Acciari Pysyk
— Steve Goldstein (@goldieonice) February 25, 2020
Wallmark was drafted in the 4th round of the 2014 NHL Draft by Carolina, the 24-year old speedy forward from Sweden has nice upside.
He appeared in 60 games for Carolina prior to the trade, with 11 goals and 12 assists so far. Wallmark can also contribute across multiple lines and along with Haula add solid depth to the forward group.
Luostarinen and Priskie are expected to report to the Springfield Thunderbirds, their AHL affiliate. Priskie is from Pembroke Pines and grew up a huge Florida Panthers fan, a nice story to say the least he gets a chance to play for his hometown team.
While these additions are solid on the surface, when four players are traded for one, typically the one is the bell of the ball.
In this case, Florida made the move while the underperforming Trocheck still held value.
Trocheck symbolized the Panthers season thus far, full of excitement and potential, while somehow far away from complete realization of it.
On paper the Panthers should be more than a fringe playoff contender, they have the components to make a legit run.
Something has been missing since the All-Star break, and changes were needed.
Trocheck was good enough to command a decent haul in return.
Yet not quite on the level where he would not become expendable.
General Manager Dale Tallon had to give Coach Joel Quenneville some flexibility and shake the roster up.
The core was too top heavy and has underproduced, perhaps some new faces will bring some energy for one last playoff push.