Florida Panthers

Vincent Trocheck’s ‘whirlwind’ year continues after he is named an NHL All-Star

Florida’s Vincent Trocheck takes warmups before Game 5 of the Stanley Cup playoff series against the Islanders on April 22.
Florida’s Vincent Trocheck takes warmups before Game 5 of the Stanley Cup playoff series against the Islanders on April 22. adiaz@miamiherald.com

Some NHL players would rather take a few days off around the NHL’s All-Star break, take some time away from the game and do some serious unwinding.

Vincent Trocheck is not of that mind.

“I would rather, 100 percent, go to the All-Star Game,” Trocheck said. “It will be a lot of fun to share this my family. They’re as excited, if not more so, about this than I am.”

Trocheck, 23, was named to the 2017 NHL All-Star team on Tuesday and said he couldn’t be more thrilled — or surprised — at the honor.

While some of his teammates head south to the Keys or make the quick flight to the Bahamas next month during the break, Trocheck says he and his extended traveling party will be headed to Los Angeles for the fun of All-Star weekend.

“It’s pretty unbelievable; I didn’t expect this and I’m super-excited to go,” Trocheck said from the Florida locker room before Wednesday’s game against the New York Islanders (7 p.m., FSFL).

It has been quite the year for Trocheck with the All-Star honor being just another superlative.

Last year, Trocheck burst onto the scene after taking over second-line centering duties from Nick Bjustad and scored a career-high 25 goals with 53 points — all while missing the final six games of the regular season after getting hurt.

Trocheck came back after being out for over three weeks and played 31:24 in Game 5 of the Panthers’ 2-1 loss in double-overtime to the Islanders in the opening round of the playoffs (many contend Trocheck was tripped attempting to score the knockout goal in regulation yet it was never called).

In the offseason, Trocheck was part of the ‘Commit to the Cats’ program as he was one of a handful to sign long-term deals with the Panthers.

Trocheck, who signed for six seasons at $4.75 million per, then was chosen to play for the NHL ‘young guns’ team at the World Cup of Hockey in Toronto alongside teammate Aaron Ekblad.

“He had a great year and we’re all proud of him,” said Florida GM/interim coach Tom Rowe. “He’s one heck of a competitor and that matches the skill that he has. That makes him a good player and a dangerous player.

“He hates to lose and competes at an incredibly high level. He has been able to hang in with us during all these injuries, so he’s been a big part.”

Said Trocheck: “It has been a whirlwind; it went from zero to 100 real quick last season. It has been a lot of fun. It was a great honor to go to the World Cup and play for Team North America and see everyone over there. Now I get to go to L.A., have some fun and play with guys who are in a world of their own.”

▪ Rowe confirmed Denis Malgin was pulled from Monday’s win against the host New Jersey Devils because of the NHL’s concussion protocol.

Malgin was back on the ice for Wednesday’s morning skate and is expected to center Paul Thompson and Shawn Thornton against the Islanders.

Greg McKegg participated in the skate but Rowe said he wasn’t ready to play.

▪ The Panthers look quite different from the team which left Brooklyn following last April’s Game 6 loss to the Islanders.

Not only does Florida have new uniforms and a new coach behind the bench, but 10 of the 20 players the Panthers are expected to dress for Wednesday’s game weren’t with the Panthers for the postseason.

Wednesday: Panthers at Islanders

When/where: 7 p.m.; Barclays Center, Brooklyn.

TV/radio: FSFL; WQAM 560, WFTL 850.

Series: Florida leads 46-37-8.

Scouting report: This is Florida’s first trip back to Brooklyn since losing there in Game 6 of the opening round of the 2016 Stanley Cup playoffs. Florida won the first meeting between the two this season in overtime in Sunrise on Nov. 12.

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