The Florida Panthers activated forward Vincent Trocheck off injured reserve on Friday. He is considered a game-time decision for tonight’s contest against the Maple Leafs.
Trocheck has not played since breaking his ankle on November 19 in a game against the Senators. A return tonight would put Trocheck far ahead of his original timetable, when a return in mid-February was thought to be optimistic. Trocheck’s potential return is a huge boost to the Panthers, who are in the midst of seven-game losing streak. The 25-year-old enjoyed a breakout season a year ago, scoring 31 goals and adding 44 assists in a full 82 games. He has 14 points in 18 games this season despite a 6.0 SH% and a 7.7 on-ice SH%.
It seems very likely Trocheck will play tonight. Being activated off injured reserve is normally an indicator of a player who is ready to return. It’s very uncommon for a player who’s missed as much time as he has to be a game-time decision. Trocheck himself said earlier today he’s ready to go, but head coach Bob Boughner reiterated he is a game-time decision. Panthers reporter Jameson Olive shared some insight into how the Panthers would lineup if Trocheck plays.
If Trocheck does play, here are what the lines looked like during today's #FlaPanthers AM skate:
Vatrano – Barkov – Dadonov
Huberdeau – Trocheck – Bjugstad
Hoffman – Borgstrom – Malgin
Hawryluk – McCann – Sceviour
Yandle – Ekblad
Matheson – Pysyk
McCoshen – Brown
— Jameson Olive (@JamesonCoop) January 18, 2019
Along with the recent emergence of Henrik Borgstrom, the return of Trocheck gives the Panthers three dangerous lines offensively. The first line can eat some of the tougher minutes and assignments, like the John Tavares line tonight, creating space for lines two and three to thrive. How the Panthers opt to lineup on the power-play remains a mystery. Trocheck typically commands a spot on the top unit, but Boughner could be hesitant to toy with the league’s fourth-best power-play. The Panthers started the season with five forwards on their first unit, but Keith Yandle has since done an effective job as the power-play’s quarterback.
Trocheck’s status is unlikely to be confirmed before warmups at 6:30 PM EST. Follow DailyFaceoff on Twitter for up to the minute information.