According to the wonderful world of Twitter, Ryan Strome has signed a two-year contract extension with the Edmonton Oilers with a cap hit of $3.1 million per season. The exact number our Jason Gregor wrote about yesterday.
Since coming over in the trade that sent Jordan Eberle to the New York Islanders, Ryan Strome has been a polarizing player for some fans and even, at times, the organization itself. That said, Ryan Strome provided the team with exactly what they should have expected when they acquired him, a perennial 30-35 point player with the ability to centre the third line and play on the penalty kill. Over the last three seasons, Strome has been reasonably consistent in terms of his production and fancy stats, and he really seemed to be at his best when playing at centre rather than on the wing.
NYI 2015-16: 71 games, 8 goals, 20 assists, 50.6 CF%, +1.8 CF% rel
NYI 2016-17: 69 games, 13 goals, 17 assists, 45.9 CF%, -2.1 CF% rel
EDM 2017-18: 82 games, 13 goals, 21 assists, 50.8 CF%, -0.1 CF% rel
Back in April, Cam Lewis profiled Strome and summarized his first season with the Oilers quite well.
Strome’s point-per-game in all situations in the past three seasons have been 0.39, 0.43, and 0.41 respectively. In 2014-15, Strome had what appeared to be a breakout season in which he recorded 50 points in 81 games, but given the two follow-up seasons, it’s pretty obvious that was the exception rather than the rule. With that considered, the Oilers got the player in 2017-18 they should have been expecting. If the Oilers expected more from Strome, that’s on them. That’s on their professional scouts who watched him, it’s on Peter Chiarelli for targeting him in a one-for-one deal for Eberle.
If you can convince yourself to not attach him to Eberle, it becomes a lot easier to accept Strome for what he is. He’s a solid, two-way player who can play in a variety of situations. He can centre your third line and be responsible, he can produce some offence in a top-six role, he can play both centre and wing, and he can be useful on the power play and penalty kill. He isn’t spectacular, but he’s a versatile depth player with upside, and there’s certainly value to that.
In 82 games played with the Oilers last season, the former 5th overall pick put up 13 goals and 21 assists for 34 points in a year where he was playing all over the lineup, something that will hopefully be avoided this time around. When compared to players in a similar production bracket who have signed contracts recently, Strome’s $3.1 million cap hit actually puts him below guys like Andrew Cogliano (0.42 points-per-game) who got $3.25 million over three years, Nick Bonino (0.43 points-per-game) who got $4.1 million over four years, and Lars Eller (0.37 points-per-game) who got $3.5 million over five years.
While it can be hard to disassociate Ryan Strome with Jordan Eberle considering he was the sole return in that trade, we have to remember that this isn’t Strome’s fault. Instead, what we should try to do is look at the guy for what he is, a responsible two-way player with the ability to kill penalties and chip in with some secondary scoring. I doubt he’ll ever get back to being the 50-point player that he was a few years back for the Islanders but he can still be a useful contributor to a team that needs guys that can play responsibly.
Personally, if I’m Todd McLellan, I write Strome’s name in ink as the third line centre and forget about trying to moonlight him as a winger. It didn’t work in New York and it’s not going to work here. As we saw a year ago, Strome looked much more confident when he was playing down the middle and that should be the plan for him moving forward. Over the past three seasons, Strome has produced at a rate of 0.41 points-per-game and it seems reasonable to expect that he’ll fall in and around that number this year as well. But you know never, maybe the Oilers will actually keep Strome in a spot where he feels comfortable rather than shuffling him around and maybe, just maybe, we can see those offensive numbers get bumped up a touch.
What do you guys think?
STROME’S OILERS CAREER SO FAR
Source: Edmonton Oilers, Verified Twitter Account, 7/6/2018 – 9:30 am MST