ST. PAUL, MN – No, Upper St. Clair, Pa. native Vince Trocheck wasn’t selected by his hometown team at the 2011 National Hockey League Entry Draft.
However, that doesn’t mean Trocheck won’t feel somewhat at home once he reaches the NHL.
That’s because Trocheck was taken in the third round (64th overall) by the Florida Panthers on Saturday, which means once he reaches the NHL level, Trocheck will have a Primanti Brothers restaurant right around the corner from the BankAtlantic Center as well as family members just a short drive away in Ft. Lauderdale and West Palm Beach.
Ranked No. 41 among North American skaters by NHL Central Scouting, Trocheck said it wasn’t a shock when he heard Florida call his name.
“I had a little bit of a feeling before the draft,” Trocheck said. “I talked to them a couple of times. I was hoping they would pick me up. When they did, words can’t describe the feeling.”
Trocheck became the fourth of a single-draft record four Pittsburgh born-and-developed players selected in this year’s draft following earlier selections of J.T. Miller (New York Rangers, 1st round, 15th overall), John Gibson (Anaheim Ducks, 2nd round, 39th overall) and Brandon Saad (Chicago Blackhawks, 2nd round, 43rd overall).
Trocheck and Saad were teammates this past season with the Saginaw Spirit of the Ontario Hockey League (OHL). Trocheck called Saad one of his best friends.
Trocheck spent the previous two seasons with Saginaw, appearing in all 68 games both years. This season, Trocheck ranked third on the team with 62 points (26G-36A) – bettering his totals from the previous season in all three categories. He ranked second on the team with six goals in 12 postseason games.
“I’ve had nothing but great things coming out of Saginaw,” Trocheck said. “The OHL is a great league. It’s helped me develop a lot.”
Not surprisingly, Trocheck credited his growth and development as a player spending his youth watching the great Penguins’ teams led first by Mario Lemieux and later by Sidney Crosby
“I think it’s definitely because of the success of the Penguins,” Trocheck said. “Growing up, more and more kids want to play hockey as they see the Penguins have more and more success. I think that has a lot to do with it.
“Growing up in Pittsburgh, you definitely watch a lot of elite players. (I watched) Mario Lemieux when I was a lot younger. When he left, (Sidney) Crosby stepped right in his place. It’s been great for Pittsburgh and for the kids growing up the support they have had from the Penguins.”
Trocheck agreed with Gibson’s assessment that having a handful of players from Pittsburgh selected at the NHL Draft is the start of a trend that should continue well into the future.
“I think this is only going to continue,” Trocheck said. “I think it’s only going to get bigger from here on out. The ’94 class is a pretty big class from Pittsburgh. I just see it getting bigger, especially considering the success of the Penguins.”
As far as his own NHL goals, Trocheck has set his goals high.
“I’m going to make the best of the opportunity,” Trocheck said. “I’m going to try to be a Florida Panther next year. If not, I’m going to keep working and eventually I’ll be there.”