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Ryan Strome Is Playing His Best Hockey As A New York Ranger

Some appreciation for Ryan Strome.

Edmonton Oilers v New York Rangers Photo by Jared Silber/NHLI via Getty Images

Ryan Strome is easily one of the more interesting players I’ve written about, and the progression he’s made as a player is very impressive. At this point of the 2021-22 season he deserves some recognition for his play, and now’s a good time to spill some digital ink. He appeared in 56 games last year, so at the 30 game mark I am fine with making some comparisons with the acknowledgment that a lot can change in the final 48 games.

This very well could be his final season as a member of the New York Rangers, and if it happens to be, he’s on pace to go out on a high note. Before I go any further, I just want to share his player cards which tell quite the story visually.

Evolving-Hockey.com
Evolving-Hockey.com
Evolving-Hockey.com
Evolving-Hockey.com

And for good measure, here’s a visual summary of his climb statistically.

Evolving-Hockey.com

Since the 2018-19 season Strome is third on the entire Rangers in total scoring with a line of 59-111-170 in 237 games played. At even strength he ranks fourth with 101 points (38 goals and 63 assists) during that stretch, which is an important factor when considering how mightily the team has struggled in that area.

This season he’s firing on all cylinders at evens, scoring .85 a goals per 60 and 2.68 points per 60. The center’s generating slightly fewer chances (10.15 per game vs. 11.81 last year) and also out performing his expected goals per 60. His ixG per 60 sits at 0.56, and his actual rate is 0.85. Strome is shooting 12.7 percent overall in 2021-22 with 8 goals in 30 games, with 6 of these markers coming at evens. He also has 18 assists on the season, 12 of which are at evens, so in total 69% of his points (nice) are at even strength.

But offense isn’t the only thing about Strome worth mentioning. As highlighted in his player cards, he’s currently in 91st percentile for defense. One big thing that’s been different is a drop in goals against and expected goals against. This season Strome has a GA/60 of 2.38, which is 29 basis points lower than the prior year. His xGA/60 is only 5 basis points lower, but improvement is improvement. Another small difference is his puck possession, and Strome is rocking a 49.61 CF% which is up from 48.95% in 2020-21.

It is quite possible that Strome’s improvement defensively could be a byproduct of his primary line dominating offensively, as the trio of Artemiy Panarin, Strome, and Kaapo Kakko that he was a part of earlier this season was amazing. It was been together for roughly 160 minutes at 5v5, and in that time posted a 70.52 GF%, a 52.05 CF%, a 52.36 xGF% and has a goals against per 60 of just 1.07.

Strome and Panarin have also spent 131 minutes with Dryden Hunt, but it fizzled out after a dazzling start. Cumulatively the line has a GF% of 49.82, a CF% of 48.69, an xGF% of 52.68%, a GF per 60 of 3.25 and a GA per 60 of 3.28. It was a high octane line that generated a lot of chances, but conversely gave up many.

The last thing to mention regarding Strome is where he ranks in GAR, and his 7.2 total puts him third on the team overall and first among forwards. The biggest change is that he’s posted a positive in DEF GAR, and hasn’t been as much of a negative in penalty differential. To be illustrate that, here’s his GAR rates per 60 over the past few seasons.

Evolving-Hockey.com

To summarize this chart, here are his difference by category this year vs. 2020-21.

  • EVO GAR — +203 basis points
  • EVD GAR — +192 basis points
  • PPO GAR — +69 basis points
  • SHD GAR — +309 basis points
  • Penalties Taken GAR — -29 basis points
  • Penalties Drawn GAR — -40 basis points
  • OFF GAR — +176 basis points
  • DEF GAR — +203 basis points
  • Penalties GAR — -69 basis points
  • GAR — +272 basis points

Overall, it has been quite a start to 2021-22 for Strome, and it puts the Rangers in quite a quandary. As I’ve said in so many of these articles before, how long can he keep it up? He’s done it to this point, but Derick Brassard was doing the same until he no longer wasn’t. In some respects, Strome could ultimately be considered a rental addition for the Rangers. Someone who can help them this year, but with no guarantee of returning.

Could the Rangers make the math work? Of course they could. Would it be hard? Yes, yes it will. But it is technically possible. I don’t want to get into the long-term economics, and I am glad that HockeyStatMiner did some work for me.

As I said earlier, a lot can change between now and the end of the season. For all we know, the team could make some trades which change the entire calculus of the roster, and could create an environment where Strome is able to come back. But that’s a conversation for another day. For now, let us appreciate the player Strome has been for the Rangers, and the growth he’s had.

Stats via Evolving-Hockey.com unless otherwise noted.