PLYMOUTH – Plymouth Whalers general manager and head coach Mike Vellucci announced the acquisition of 19-year-old center Vince Trocheck from the Saginaw Spirit in exchange for 17-year-old center Zach Bratina, second and third round draft choices in 2015 and a third round choice in 2016.
The Final Ontario Hockey League Trade Deadline is today at noon.
“We are very excited to be able to acquire Vince,” said Vellucci. “He is someone we’ve coveted since his minor midget draft year (Detroit Little Caesars). Vince and Ryan Hartman are coming here just having helped the United States win a gold medal in the World Junior Championships. I am looking forward to seeing Vince in the lineup this weekend.”
Trocheck – from Pittsburgh, PA – leaves Saginaw as the second leading scorer in franchise history with 94 goals and 146 for 240 points in 236 games. This season, Trocheck has 24 goals and 26 assists for 50 points and is +18 over 35 games. He’s one of the best face-off men in the Ontario Hockey League and was considered the face of the franchise as captain in Saginaw.
Trocheck was originally selected by Saginaw in the second round (24th overall) of the 2009 Ontario Hockey League Draft. Later, Trocheck was taken by the Florida Panthers in the third round (64th overall) of the 2011 National Hockey League Entry Draft and has been signed by the Panthers.
As Vellucci said, Trocheck and current Plymouth teammate Ryan Hartman helped the United States win the gold medal in the recent 2013 World Junior Championship in Ufa, Russia. Trocheck scored three goals with three assists for six points and was +5 in seven games. Hartman scored two goals and an assist in the tournament.
Bratina was taken by Plymouth in the first round (19th overall) of the 2012 Ontario Hockey League Priority Selection and scored four goals with four assists for eight points in 37 games.
Division rivals usually don’t make trades and Vellucci acknowledged Saginaw’s participation in the deal.
“I want to thank the Saginaw Spirit organization for making this deal possible,” Vellucci said. “It’s not always easy to make a deal with a cross-town rival. But they are getting an exceptional person and player in Zach Bratina. We are going to miss him.”
Trocheck is expected to report today to Plymouth and will be in the lineup this weekend when the Whalers host Brampton on Friday and Erie on Saturday at Compuware Arena. Both games start at 7:05 pm.
(Nathan can be reached at email@example.com)