Florida Panthers

Up from the minors, Florida Panthers’ Rocco Grimaldi and Vincent Trocheck filling a need

Rocco Grimaldi of the Florida Panthers poses for a portrait during day two of the 2011 NHL Entry Draft at Xcel Energy Center on June 25, 2011 in St Paul, Minnesota.
Rocco Grimaldi of the Florida Panthers poses for a portrait during day two of the 2011 NHL Entry Draft at Xcel Energy Center on June 25, 2011 in St Paul, Minnesota. Getty Images

Rocco Grimaldi and Vincent Trocheck don’t know how long they’ll remain with the Panthers.

This time.

Despite the uncertainty of Florida’s newest forwards, it appears both have a future with the team.

As for now, Grimaldi and Trocheck are taking things as they come and enjoying the ride.

And making sure they are being noticed.

“We have no hesitation in calling those guys up because we know they can do the job for us,’’ general manager Dale Tallon said. “They’re good players and they’re going to be a part of our team in the future. The more they get to play now, the better we’ll be.’’

Grimaldi and Trocheck were called up from the minors on Friday after Florida lost three forwards during a win over Arizona.

The two were put together on a makeshift line that included defenseman-turned-winger Colby Robak. In Tuesday’s 2-1 overtime loss to Boston, coach Gerard Gallant called it Florida’s top line.

On Wednesday, Robak was back working with Florida’s defenseman as it appears Aleksander Barkov will return from a two-game absence. Veteran winger Tomas Fleischmann will join Grimaldi and Trocheck for Thursday’s game against the Flyers.

“I think we’ve had a good couple of games, and we’re getting some chances,’’ said Grimaldi, who had a strong game against the Bruins and took six shots on 20 shifts.

“The puck hasn’t found the back of the net yet, but if we bear down and keep doing what we’re doing, it will. We just have to be hard to play against. A lot of teams don’t know anything about us, so we just need to keep getting the puck deep and grinding their defense. That’s the role we’re being asked to play. We know we can be sent down at any time. You have to give it your all every practice, every game.’’

Trocheck ended last season with the Panthers but was one of the final cuts of training camp. Trocheck, like Grimaldi, also had a big game against the Bruins and had one of Florida’s best scoring chances.

“If we keep continue to play smart, play the right way, we’ll be rewarded for it,’’ Trocheck said. “You can’t worry about what’s going to happen in the future. This is an opportunity, and I’m trying to take full advantage. Whatever they ask me to do, I will. I just want them to see I can play at this level and reward me for it. I’m having a blast. This is the dream.’’

Said Gallant: “They are guys who compete every shift and get pucks to the net. They’re working and excited to play. It’s good energy for our team. They’re moving the puck and creating opportunities.’’


Barkov has missed the past two games with a sore knee but was back working on Florida’s first line during Wednesday’s practice at the University of Pennsylvania.

Barkov was centering Jussi Jokinen — who was center of the top line in Barkov’s absence — and Brad Boyes.

“Hopefully, he’ll be ready to go, but I’m not 100 percent sure right now,’’ Gallant said. “It was a minor lower-body [injury], and I think he’ll be able to play.’’

If Barkov can’t play, Gallant said he wouldn’t have a problem going with Robak at left wing for a third straight game.

“He played excellent,’’ Gallant said. “It’s a great thing, and it’s good for him. We know we can put him in there at any time. I don’t know about the lineup just yet, but it’s a good option to have. It’s great for him and great for us.’’

▪ The Panthers are off to one of their best road starts in history, getting at least a point in all six to begin the season.

The 1996-97 team got a point in its first seven contests.

Thursday: Panthers at Flyers

When, where: 7 p.m.; Wells Fargo Center, Philadelphia.

TV/radio: FSNF; WQAM 560.

The series: Philadelphia leads 46-31-7.

Noteworthy: This is the second meeting between the two teams in a week. Florida won the first game 2-1 on Saturday. The Panthers have played in four straight games decided by a 2-1 score. Nine of Florida’s 10 games have been decided by a single goal.