The Oilers have locked up one of their two remaining RFA’s this morning by signing Ryan Strome to a two-year contract. The deal will carry an AAV of $3.1 million per season, while paying Strome $3 million in real dollars in 2018-19 and $3.2 million in 2019-20.
This signing was a matter of time, and really none of the details come as a surprise. The contract was always going to be shorter in term, and was also guaranteed to be right around the qualifying offer that Strome received late last month, which was $3 million.
I have no problem with this signing. While the offensive numbers really never changed during the course of the season, I thought Strome looked much more comfortable in the second half of the season when the Oilers established a role for him. As the third line center, Strome was able to settle in and play good hockey. I thought he showed some chemistry with both Jujhar Khaira and Milan Lucic at times in the second half.
This signing also sets what should be a pretty strong center depth chart next season. Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl will anchor the top two lines, while Strome and recent signing Kyle Brodziak will handle the bottom two trios. I suspect Strome gets a look on the penalty kill this coming season as well.
In terms of wingers for the third line, I think Jujhar Khaira or Milan Lucic on the left wing, with Tobias Rieder on the right would be the ideal trio on that line. We shall see how that plays out in training camp in September.
Next on Peter Chiarelli’s list of things to get done? Darnell Nurse’s contract. I suspect, with Strome done, that Nurse will take center stage and get done in the next little while.