Vincent Trocheck was traded to the Carolina Hurricanes by the Florida Panthers for Erik Haula, Lucas Wallmark, Eetu Luostarinen and Chase Priskie on Monday.
"It's my first time being traded and I spent my whole time in Florida, so saying bye to those guys is tough," Trocheck told the News & Observer. "At the same time, I am very excited to get to Carolina. I've heard nothing but great things from guys who have been in the organization. Definitely looking forward to a fresh start."
Trocheck has two seasons after this one remaining on a six-year contract. The 26-year-old forward has 36 points (10 goals, 26 assists) in 55 games this season.
"Vincent brings elements of skill and competitiveness that fit the mold of the style we want to play," Hurricanes general manager Don Waddell said. "He's a right-handed center who is excellent in the face-off circle. With two years left on his contract after this one, this fills a need for our roster for this year and moving forward."
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Haula, a 28-year-old forward, has 22 points (12 goals, 10 assists) in 41 games this season. He has 173 points (85 goals, 88 assists) in 398 regular-season games with the Hurricanes, Vegas Golden Knights and Minnesota Wild, and 22 points (nine goals, 13 assists) in 44 Stanley Cup Playoff games.
Wallmark, a 24-year-old forward, has 23 points (11 goals, 12 assists) in 60 games. He has 54 points (22 goals, 32 assists) in 160 regular-season games and five points (one goal, four assists) in 15 playoff games.
"They're versatile, smart players," Panthers general manager Dale Tallon said.
Selected by Florida in the third round (No. 64) of the 2011 NHL Draft, Trocheck has 282 points (111 goals, 171 assists) in 420 regular-season games and one assist in two Stanley Cup Playoff games.
"We've been keyed in on trying to get a right-hand-shot center for a long period of time," Waddell said. "Vincent Trocheck's name came up, and we started pursing it. It's been going on for a couple weeks. ... We have good history on Trocheck as far as character. Everything is very positive. This is the type of player we needed. We've been short on the right side for face-off guys for a couple of years."
After watching Florida go 4-8-1 this month, dropping the Panthers (32-24-6) two points behind the Toronto Maple Leafs for third place in the Atlantic Division and four behind the Hurricanes and Columbus Blue Jackets for the second wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the Eastern Conference, Tallon said he felt moves had to be made.
"You have to do something, make changes when necessary," he said. "You can't sit still and hope."
"It was very emotional," Tallon said of trading Trocheck. "The bottom line is [doing] what's best for the Florida Panthers. It's a business. You have to move on. Since the All-Star break we've really struggled. I wanted to shake things up and see what we are. I felt we should do this for the present and the future. We added depth throughout the organization."
The Panthers are 2-2-0 on a five-game road trip that ends Tuesday against the Arizona Coyotes at Gila River Arena (9 p.m. ET; SNE, SNP, SNO, FS-A, FS-A PLUS, FS-F, NHL.TV).
Trocheck missed seven games from Oct. 22-Nov. 9 after he was injured blocking a shot.
"For the last month or so I'd say I felt back to my normal self in a sense of kind of playing with speed and doing the things I used to do," Trocheck said. "At this point I feel like I'm 100 percent."
Carolina (35-22-4) is two points behind the New York Islanders and Columbus Blue Jackets, and four points ahead of the Panthers, for the first wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the Eastern Conference.
"They play a fast-paced game and I think that's kind of where I fit in," Trocheck said. "I play with speed. I play a fast game, pretty north-south. I think that's the reason they brought me in, to play that fast style of hockey."
Luostarinen, a 21-year-old forward prospect, has one assist in eight games with the Hurricanes and 25 points (eight goals, 17 assists) in 44 games for Charlotte of the American Hockey League.
Priskie, a 23-year-old defenseman prospect from Pembroke Pines, Florida, has 31 points (six goals, 25 assists) in 52 games with Charlotte.
"He's excited and so are we," Tallon said of adding Priskie, a top-10 finalist for the Hobey Baker Award last season at Quinnipiac who signed with Carolina as a free agent on Aug. 17. "We tried to sign him last summer."
The Panthers also acquired Emil Djuse, a 26-year-old defenseman prospect, from the Dallas Stars for a sixth-round choice in the 2020 NHL Draft.
The Hurricanes later Monday acquired defenseman Sami Vatanen in a trade with the New Jersey Devils, and defenseman Brady Skjei in a trade with the New York Rangers.
"We were in on a lot of things," Waddell said. "We stayed in probably four or five different trades because you don't want to be left at the altar.
"We owe it to the players to try and give them the best resources to have success. We're all in this together. We felt there were opportunities where we could make our hockey club better."