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2019 Report Card: Ryan Strome

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Strome set a career high in goals this season

Washington Capitals v New York Rangers Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

Expectations

On Nov. 16, 2018 the Rangers sent Ryan Spooner — who quickly found himself as a man without a role on David Quinn’s Rangers — to the Edmonton Oilers for Ryan Strome. As part of the trade, the Rangers also retained $900,000 of Spooner’s contract.

Strome, 25, was not expected to suddenly rediscover the potential that made him the 5th overall pick of the 2011 Draft. Instead, he was brought in because of his versatility as a bottom-six forward who could move up in the lineup if need be. It also didn’t hurt that Strome was a right-handed shot joining a team that had a bevy of left-handed forwards.

“The fact that he can play center, that he can play wing, that he can play on the power play, that he can kill penalties, he can take face-offs, I think he brings a little bit of everything,” Jeff Gorton said after the deal, “and with our group right now, having somebody who can play in all different areas of the game, I think he can help us.”

In essence, Strome was seen as a guy to fill holes, which was valuable to a team with a roster that was currently in a state of flux with youngsters getting ice time and veterans like Kevin Hayes and Mats Zuccarello on the trade block awaiting to depart the roster. He had far less to offer in terms of offense than Spooner, but played a more well-rounded game. On paper, he looked like a better fit under Quinn than Spooner.

Performance

Of course, we all know that Strome punched way above his weight in terms of production with the Blueshirts, especially after the trade deadline. Apparently, the guy just needed a change of scenery.

In the 63 games he played with the Rangers this year he scored 18 goals and notched 15 assists. Believe it or not, he was also the team’s leading scoring from March to the end of the season with 14 points in his last 19 games. This also seems like a good time to bring up the fact that Strome shot 16.67% at 5v5 and 22.5% in all situations. So it should come as no surprise that he finished the season with a 101.1 PDO — the third-highest PDO on the team among skaters who played at least 55 games.

Look at you, you lucky duck.
Micah Blake McCurdy | @IneffectiveMath

To call Strome’s production “lucky” would be something of an understatement. Among Rangers skaters who played at least 500 minutes at 5v5 Strome’s -3.22 Rel xGF% was the third-worst on the team, ahead of only the man he was traded for and rookie forward Brett Howden. Furthermore, he failed to break even in the shot share relative to his teammates with a -0.38 Rel CF%.

Strome, who had promising passing metrics before the Rangers acquired him from the Oilers, had 0.44 primary assists per 60 minutes at 5v5, which put him in the same neighborhood as Filip Chytil. It’s also worth mentioning that Strome’s most-frequent linemates at 5v5 this season were Vlad Namestnikov, Jesper Fast, Chytil, and Jimmy Vesey.

Strome’s Lines at 5v5

Season Team GP TOI CF CA C+/- CF% Rel CF% GF GA G+/- GF% Rel GF% xGF xGA xG+/- xGF% Rel xGF% PENT PEND P+/- PDO ZSR
Season Team GP TOI CF CA C+/- CF% Rel CF% GF GA G+/- GF% Rel GF% xGF xGA xG+/- xGF% Rel xGF% PENT PEND P+/- PDO ZSR
2018-2019 NYR 20 66.02 50 91 -41 35.46 -10.57 3 5 -2 37.5 -14.61 2.19 4.75 -2.56 31.56 -13.69 2 1 -1 102.28 45.71
2018-2019 NYR 17 81.48 55 83 -28 39.86 -7.95 2 3 -1 40 -10 1.95 2.78 -0.83 41.23 -7.14 5 3 -2 99.17 57.14
2018-2019 NYR 29 64.43 59 66 -7 47.2 2.33 2 3 -1 40 -4.95 2.34 2.87 -0.53 44.91 -1.36 4 4 0 96.73 51.22
2018-2019 NYR 22 128.73 120 128 -8 48.39 2.18 3 4 -1 42.86 -7.83 5.01 5.59 -0.58 47.26 1.25 9 11 2 98.24 41.25
Data courtesy of Corsica.Hockey

Another way to understand Strome’s impact outside of his counting stats is his goals above replacement rate. Strome finished the season with a -0.05 even strength GAR60 (goals above replacement per 60), which was 8th among Rangers forwards.

Just as Gorton had hoped, Strome did a little bit of everything for the Rangers. He averaged 1:16 TOI/GP on the power play (11th among Rangers forwards) and 0:57 TOI/GP on the penalty kill (8th among Rangers forwards). Interestingly enough, the four power play goals that Strome score was good for third on the team in the window after he was acquired.

Before he became a Ranger, Strome’s lack of discipline was one of the biggest strikes against him. Unfortunately, that trend continued in New York.

Micah Blake McCurdy | @IneffectiveMath

Strome had a -8 penalty differential at 5v5, which was the second-worst differential among Rangers forwards behind only Chris Kreider (-12). He finished the season with 15 minor penalties (all situations), two fighting majors, and one misconduct penalty for cross-checking Stars’ defenseman Jason Dickinson into Ben Bishop with under five seconds left in regulation.

In the 63 games that he played with the Rangers Strome took more faceoffs than everybody except Mika Zibanejad. Strome had a 47.2% success rate on the dot, which put him 80th in the league among centers who took at least 500 draws after he was dealt to the Rangers.

Grade: A- | Banter Consensus: B

Hey! What gives? How does Strome get an A- if he was ridiculously lucky to score 18 goals and had a brutal penalty differential? Well, both of those things are true, but Strome was essentially the player we thought he was going to be outside of that 22.5 Sh%.

Blueshirt Banter alumnus Nick Mercadante put it best when he said that Strome was neither great or bad. He’s “just a guy that can kind of fit in the middle 6-9.” And that’s why he comes away with such a positive grade in this report card.

It also didn’t hurt that he set a new career high in goals in the 63 games he played with the Blueshirts. A lot of that was luck, but he also worked his tail off in a way that earned the trust of his head coach. That counts for something.

When we think back on Strome’s 2018-19 season in New York most of us will remember his absurdly high shooting percentage, but perhaps we should also remember that he was acquired for a player that became a spare part in the early weeks of the season. Ultimately, Strome proved to be a useful depth forward on the Rangers.

Strome is signed through the 2019-20 season and will be a restricted free agent on July 1, 2020.

Data courtesy of Corsica.hockey, naturalstattrick.com, and evolving-hockey.com. Salary details courtesy of CapFriendly.com.