As I see it, there are three natural spots in the batting order for Ryan Strome:
- RW on McDavid’s line, also taking RH faceoffs on the feature line.
- C on a soft minutes line, possibly with Jussi Jokinen and Jesse Puljujarvi.
- RW on a second line with Nugent-Hopkins, also taking RH faceoffs.
I don’t think Leon and Strome spend a lot of time together (my assumption is Strome mirrors Draisaitl) but that’s another possibility. Strome is not strong on faceoffs (44.2 percent career) but might be able to help with FO wins since he is a righty.
The bigger part of the picture is possession and offense. Strome had a strong first full NHL season (50 points) but has posted pedestrian totals in the two seasons since. It’s important to get to the bottom of this now, because a season playing RW beside Connor McDavid and or on the Oilers 1PP is going to skew our view.
STROME’S ISLANDERS CAREER
Strome spent most of his time 5×5 last season with Brock Nelson and rookie Anthony Beauvillier, best described as middle six forward level on the Islanders. I’ll bet Strome gets a superior set of linemates for the coming season, and a spike from 1.58/60 5×5 scoring is likely no matter where he plays. An increase in his shots-per-60 would benefit Strome, imagine that will happen no matter where he slots in the lineup.
PUCK IQ OFFERS A CURIOUS RESULT
This is Ryan Strome run through PuckIQ‘s brilliant ‘binning’ of elites, middle, and gritensity. What you want to see is a strong showing in the middle and gritensity areas of the equation. Strome’s numbers against elites are predictable, no one trades a player making $2.5 million who is pounding elite opposition senseless.
Puck IQ says (above) that Ryan Strome dominated no level of opposition last season. He sawed off the soft parade, was underwater against the middle and got caved against the elite players in the NHL.
One of these numbers is a terrible surprise. We wait.