Where Ryan Strome Stands With The Rangers

Strome debuts (Getty Images)

The one-time 50 point scorer has found himself playing a significant role for the Rangers on a nightly basis. The team’s new second line center, now that Hayes is gone, will be sure to get his opportunity to show everyone that the Islanders didn’t make a mistake by drafting him fifth overall way back in 2011. Strome, who was acquired by the Rangers back in November in exchange for Ryan Spooner, has caught fire as of late.

Strome has eight points in his last ten games while averaging 15 minutes of ice time per night and finding himself on the Rangers’ second power play unit. The forward, who made his debut with the Islanders in 2013, is still just 25-years-old, which may be a surprise to some. He’s been in the NHL for six years, and certainly has not been anything the Islanders thought he was when they selected him so early in the 2011 draft. So why is his time with the Rangers going to be different? It may not be, but I think if given the chance under David Quinn, Strome can find himself again.

Signed through next season at a reasonable $3.1 million, there’s no reason why the Rangers shouldn’t keep Strome around. His trade value is slim to none, now on his third team with many believing he will never see a better year then he did back in 2014-15 when he posted 50 points in 81 games. Other than a very late draft pick that the Rangers could possibly acquire for him, there is more upside to giving Strome his shot. Even though he only carries 19 points in 44 games as a Ranger, he will now see top-six minutes with Hayes and Zuccarello gone and the fountain of youth behind him. Strome can capitalize on being a six-year NHL veteran to the guys in their first or second year and lead by example.

Change of scenery can change an entire players’ thought process and play. Although this is his third team now, I think being so young when drafted and entering the league at such a young age with high expectations played a role in the underperformance of Strome. And when shipped to the Oilers, he was never really given a chance to shine. Under Quinn, with the organization in the midst of a rebuild is the perfect time for Strome to pounce on an opportunity he likely won’t get again.

I compare the career that Ryan Strome has had to the one of Jimmy Vesey. Although Strome has double the experience in the NHL, they are both 25-years-old and are signed through next season at a cheap price. Both players have underperformed up until this point, but are playing much better as of late, and will continue to get more ice time during the rebuild. With the style of coaching David Quinn has, now is the time for Strome (and Vesey) to thrive. Strome must continue to have a strong finish to his first season as a Blueshirt to engrave his name in a roster spot for next year.