September 2, 2020

Early indications appear Rangers want to retain Ryan Strome

Ryan Strome and Artemi Panarin celebrate (Photo by Jared Silber/NHLI via Getty Images)

Ryan Strome had 59 points in 70 games this season. Along with his top wingman, Artemi Panarin they each had career years. That’s with the fact their seasons were cut short thanks to COVID-19. The chemistry between the two is undeniable, and an encore for next season seems very likely.

The 27 year-old center is now a restricted free agent with arbitration rights. He is coming off a two year deal with an AAV of $3.1 million against the cap. A significant raise is coming. So where are the two sides in contract talks just over a month away from free agent frenzy? Let’s dig in.

Ryan Strome prepping for negotiations with Rangers

ryan strome contract
Ryan Strome will be an RFA (Getty Images)

When it comes to his importance to this team, it’s not just about stats. The Rangers don’t have a lot of NHL ready centers able to take on the responsibility of 2nd line duties. Filip Chytil is a prime example of that, and the Rangers are still flirting with him on the wing so it is a fluid situation.

I reached out to Ryan’s agent who informed me that they are still in the “very early stages,” and that they are getting ready for the upcoming negotiations with the Rangers. This is a good sign that the two sides see a future together, but what that is short term versus long term remains to be seen.

Predicting where the Strome negotiations will go

When it comes to numbers the Rangers are likely to offer, a deal around $4 to $5 million seems to make sense. On the flip side, Strome’s side will seek close to $6 to $7 million.

The two sides will likely agree to something in the $5 or $5.5 million range. What remains to be seen will be the term, since the Rangers would like a two year deal. I’d expect Strome to be more inclined to take a one year deal since he will already be eligible for unrestricted status next summer. That isn’t the case for his fellow RFA’s, Tony DeAngelo and Brendan Lemieux.

Of course, there is always that risk that Strome may want to get this in front of an arbitrator. There would be a distinct possibility an arbitrator would award a one year deal at $6 million. This would put the Rangers in a position they may consider walking away from. Although highly unlikely, it’s possible. Just remember, Ryan Strome was acquired for Ryan Spooner and is one of the Jeff Gorton’s best moves. So I doubt this would turn into a Nik Zherdev situation, and I’m sure Panarin wants his center back.

Prediction: Strome gets a 1 year deal at $5.25 million AAV

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