With training camp just around the corner in Edmonton, it is now the time to take a look at some of the new faces with the club. You’ve got your usual suspects- the newly acquired draft picks, a few free agent signings here and there – but most times the spotlight doesn’t shine as bright on those faces as they do with players acquired in trades.
Fans and media scramble around these players and watch them with a sharp eye. Why was this player acquired? Will he fit the system? Was it worth it? All those questions swirl around summer acqusitions and Ryan Strome is no exception.
The former Niagara Ice Dog was acquired by the Edmonton Oilers on June 22nd in a trade that sent Jordan Eberle to the New York Islanders. Both Eberle and Strome had come off rather underwhelming seasons and a change of scenery was due for each player.
So….who is Ryan Strome?
Ryan Strome is an NHL centerman that was drafted 5th overall at the 2011 NHL Entry Draft by the New York Islanders. At the age of 24, Strome is still a relatively young talent in the the National Hockey League. He has produced decent numbers in his first few professional seasons in New York but, he has not yet lived up to his draft year hype.
The hype, which was generated by a few remarkable seasons in the OHL with the Niagara Ice Dogs. His illustrious junior career spanned to 225 OHL games in which he was able to produce at an impressive rate, notching 295pts in that time.
To demonstrate just how well-recieved his junior career was, take a look at some of Strome’s early scouting reports:
“He skates very well and has very good speed. He’s a creative playmaker who sees the ice very well. He goes to the net and battles in front. He is able to get to rebounds and loose pucks in front. He has good hands and has scored some goals off tip-ins in front.“ – NHL Central Scouting’s Chris Edwards
“I remember telling one of our scouts last summer that Strome was very talented but played too much on the perimeter in Minor Midget. It didn’t surprise me when he started going into dirty areas that his whole game changed. Ryan started to become a pretty complete player in all 3 zones. I knew how skilled and shifty with the puck he was, but it was when he became willing to pay the price to win pucks all over the ice that he turned the corner for me.” – HockeyProspect.com’s Mark Edwards
So, while his junior career was certainly one to remember, his professional career hasn’t quite lived up to that praise….not yet anyway.
In 248 games with the Islanders, Strome has been able to amass 45 goals and 81 assists, good for a total of 126pts. Not bad numbers by any means, but not what you would expect from such a highly touted forward.
Taking a look at his common line mates last season makes it easy to assume that he may not have been in the greatest positions. In most game situations, Strome found himself in-between, rookie, Anthony Beauvillier and Brock Nelson. Both these line mates don’t exactly scream offence for Strome.
It should also be noted that Strome did see a considerable rise in production after the hiring of Doug Weight as the Isles new head coach. Before Weight, Strome had only achieved 14pts in a four and half month period. After Weight, that number grew to 16pts in a two and a half month period.
Lastly, he is in the final season of a 2-year deal that will pay him $2.5 million. He will be an RFA after the 2017/18 season.
What Can We Expect?
Right now, we can expect Strome to be a reliable third line centre option. He will likely be playing with a combination of Jussi Jokinen, Drake Caggiula, Anton Slepyshev, and possibly even Jesse Puljujarvi. These options are all better than the ones he was provided in New York and we could see a rise in offensive production because of this.
He could also see time in the top 6 as a winger, given the team’s current situation with the centre position. A very versatile player for the coaching staff to experiment with.
Ryan Strome’s career year occurred during 2014/15 season, where he hit the 50pt plateau. He might not get there again this year because he will be recovering from a wrist injury sustained last season and he will have to go through the process of playing for a new team.
Overall, look for Strome to put up 35-40 points this year while jumping between the third and second line.
Thanks For Reading!
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