December 12, 2020

Ryan Strome lasting his two year contract with the Rangers unlikely?

Strome scores (AP/Jay LaPrete)

Ever since Jeff Gorton traded for Ryan Strome, the center has exceeded expectations. It’s almost as if no one believes this former first rounder is legit because he took so long to blossom.

The numbers are rock solid, especially for someone asked to be a number two center in the NHL. In just under two season with the Blueshirts he has scored 36 goals and 92 points in 133 games. That’s a healthy scoring rate of .69 points per game.

Ryan Strome almost seems destined to not last with the NY Rangers

Calls to trade Ryan Strome started last season. The arguments made is that he can’t score without Panarin. That’s false because he notched 18 goals and 33 points on a terrible Rangers team pre-Breadman.

He’s on par or better than many of the 2nd line centers around the league. Is he a superstar? No. However, he is better than any other center the Rangers have on the roster or in the pipeline. Sorry Filip Chytil fans, but that’s the truth.

Recently, Rick Carpiniello of The Athletic wrote about Strome’s future in a piece projecting the 2022-23 Rangers lineup.

We don’t know if Pavel Buchnevich will still be around (doubtful), and we’re pretty certain Ryan Strome will be gone, unless he proves to the Rangers that he can be one of their top two centers (and then that they can somehow afford to re-sign him in the summer of 2022).

The Athletic

No matter what, it almost always seems to come down to Strome being a goner.

Ryan Strome deserves more credit

Ryan Strome
Ryan Strome (Getty Images)

Listen, Strome wasn’t very impressive in his five and half seasons with the Islanders and Oilers before the trade. His .45 points per game average saw him land on third and fourth lines more often than not. But something clicked when he came to New York.

In contrast, just to jolt some Blueshirt fans’ memories, especially those who worship at the Altar of Analytics, Derek Stepan was a .69 point per game player with NY. Why bring up Stepan? Because many fans saw him as a number one center and were devastated when he was traded.

I can also hear the counter arguments, “he never played with a guy like Panarin!” Really? Just to set the record straight, Stepan played on teams with the likes of Rick Nash, Martin St. Louis, Brad Richards, Mats Zuccarello, and Chris Kreider to name a few. Those teams were also considered Cup contenders for the time he was here. Derek Stepan never scored more than 58 points in a season.

Strome on the other hand scored 59 points in 70 games, and had they played a full season would’ve finished with close to 70 points. So the man deserves more respect than he’s given.

Ryan Strome as likely to stay as he is to go

The truth is that Brett Howden is well liked by David Quinn but hasn’t shown any signs of being better than a third line center. Filip Chytil for all his size and talent is still very inconsistent and may be better as a winger.

In the pipeline are players like Morgan Barron, who appears solid but no one seems to think he’s a top two center. Same for highly touted, but small center prospect Karl Henriksson. The jury is out on all those guys.

So unless the Rangers use Strome in a trade to upgrade the second line center spot, he could very well still be here. My gut tells me that this upcoming season, the 27 year-old pivot will flirt with the point per game mark and make the decision that much harder in 2021-22.

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