The New York Rangers have made one the biggest investments in free agency.
Forward Vincent Trocheck is moving to Broadway on a seven-year contract worth $5.625 million on an average annual basis. Not coincidently, Andrew Copp, who was inserted into New York's middle six at the trade deadline last season, signed for the exact same amount with the Detroit Red Wings on a five-year agreement nearly simultaneously.
In a vacuum, it's a bit of a head-scratcher on the part of the Rangers. Copp fit seamlessly following his acquisition from the Winnipeg Jets, and looked to be a potential long-term solution for New York. That said, Copp is a local-area player who grew up in Ann Arbor before attending the University of Michigan, so it's possible the decision was out of the Rangers' hands, and that Trocheck was simply a secondary option.
Trocheck is perhaps the more natural offensive player. He's routinely delivered decent middle-six production, most recently scoring 21 goals and 51 points for the Carolina Hurricanes. He'll have a chance to improve on those numbers as part of a top six that features Artemi Panarin, Mika Zibanejad and Chris Kreider.
The Rangers have found their second line center in Vincent Trocheck.
Trocheck's cap hit matches his market value in Year 1.... but on average will make $2.1M above market value through the life of the 7 (!) year deal. pic.twitter.com/ACbv3SSbnB
— Shayna (@hayyyshayyy) July 13, 2022
Copp's opportunity to compete deep into spring once again will likely have to wait in Detroit.
His signing does signify things may soon turn, but the Red Wings are still in the early stages of a methodical build around entry-level talents such as Moritz Seider and Lucas Raymond, and a young veteran like captain Dylan Larkin.
Copp's value may be in the tail-end of a deal that will take him through to his age-33 season.
A nice fit for Detroit. Copp is a very versatile player – but that's a bit pricey for what he brings to the table, especially for five years. Can he be a bonafide top six player for the duration of the contract? pic.twitter.com/sUpusdrjCX
— dom (@domluszczyszyn) July 13, 2022
Nazem Kadri was expected to be an option for the Rangers and Red Wings, who have added centres in succession within the first hour of the free-agent window. The Trocheck move likely takes the Rangers out of the running, but the Red Wings would still have enough cap room to be involved in the Kadri discussion.
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