Players

A glimpse at 2C: Filip Chytil vs. Ryan Strome

As the New York Rangers look to turn the corner from rebuild to contender, the 2C position is going to need to be filled. Ryan Strome held that position this year and had great success with Artemi Panarin, but there are concerns about Strome’s ability to sustain that output given his contract projections. The general consensus is that Chytil is the 2C of the future, but the question is whether or not he can handle that load now.

When it comes to raw point totals, of course Strome has the clear advantage. Strome had a career year of 18-41-59 (3-14-17 on the powerplay, 26 primary points) in 70 games, playing almost entirely with Panarin. His production took a big hit after the trade deadline (small sample size warning), with just one assist in those seven games.

Chytil was also on pace for career highs with a line of 14-9-23 (1-2-3 on the powerplay, 18 primary points) in 60 games. However unlike Strome, Chytil didn’t have Panarin. Chytil’s most common linemate was Kaapo Kakko, but his linemates were always rotating. Quality of teammates does matter here, since no one on the Rangers is quite like Panarin.

While it is extremely difficult to isolate Strome from Panarin, there are some ways to accomplish that. HockeyViz has isolated impact charts, which tells part of the story for both players.

It doesn’t take rocket science to show that Strome had a solid offensive impact at even strength (red = more shots, blue = fewer shots). The interesting thing here is that his powerplay impact wasn’t as strong as you might think (green = more shots, purple = fewer shots). Also worth noting that his defensive impact wasn’t actually that bad, within the full season context that was the horrible Rangers defense.

It’s the middle part here that intrigues me, as Strome is on the wrong side of isolated impact on producing goals. That is consistent with the questions brought up about his ability to produce without Panarin. As we’ve seen, lines get thrown in a blender often. This is an important aspect of Strome’s game that should not be overlooked.

As for Chytil, his even strength offensive impact was lesser than Strome’s, but his powerplay impact was significantly better. Chytil also has better defensive numbers, but hasn’t played on the PK yet. Chytil also comes up as “average” in generating better chances for goals.

What this suggests is that the Rangers are certainly enjoying Strome’s season, but there is a lot of evidence to say that this may not be sustainable for him. Is it certain? Not at all, but the evidence suggests it is more likely than not that his production takes a hit. When taking into account his potentially large contract cost, it becomes a risk.

As for Chytil, the evidence suggests he’d do well with more minutes and better teammates. Does it mean he is guaranteed? Not at all, but the numbers suggest he has performed well enough to earn that shot. Given his cheaper cost, it is far less risky to give your very talented 21-year-old that chance.

In the game of managing hockey rosters, managing risk is a critical component. Strome has the chemistry with Panarin, but the rest of the evidence suggests his production is going to come down. With Chytil, there is risk that he is not ready for the 2C spot, although that risk is mitigated by his significantly cheaper cost.

When the Rangers traded Derick Brassard, they were trading him potentially one or two seasons too early to avoid the latter downfall years. They also landed Mika Zibanejad one or two seasons before he’d hit that next level. Is it possible the Rangers can do the same with Strome? They’d be silly not to try, especially with in-house options available to take his spot in the lineup.

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  • If I thought we could trade Strome and get a good return, I would … not that I think Chytil is ready to produce offensively like Strome w/Panarin but the difference might be less than some think. However if they could sign Strome to a 2 year deal ($5-5.5M per) without an NTC/NMC clause, I would … part of the issue here is our depth at Center. Move Chytil up to the 2nd line and our 3rd/4th line will suffer without a legit 3rd line Center to replace him.

    • Agree. Centers are the most important forwards. You probably value (and pay) your 3C as if he were a top six forward. Moving Strome (which may still be a good idea) creates a real hole at 3C, which may lead to a very weak third line.

    • “Move Chytil up to the 2nd line and our 3rd/4th line will suffer without a legit 3rd line Center to replace him.”

      See the bottom 6 had already suffered and Chytil was apart of that. 20 something points is well below the average belt for a 3c in today’s league and he had enough NHL games to get there. You have to add his poor 200 ft game who can’t matchup, take advantage of easy OZ/faceoff deployments. That’s basically 2012 and 2013 Brian Boyle without his tangables of being a defensive minded bottom 6 center. He needs to learn how to be more productive and responsible 5v5 player and not make the PP2 into a JV squad.

      Panarin lobbying for Strome doesn’t help Chyti case to move up. I think there’s a certain class of fans who don’t want to face the music about that. re-sign Strome to 50 pesos or a 50 million dollar deal, it won’t matter. If he can’t duplicate his season next year than most likely Panarin and the NYR will suffer. Chytil by proxy would most likely get a chance to center that 2nd line, but I don’t see his numbers jumping up to 40-50 points.

    • Why wouldn’t Chytil produce like Strome, if he were Panarin’s linemate? He is a shooter/goalscorer type of center rather than a playmaker, who’d almost certainly break the 25-goal mark if he were Panarin’s center. Strome’s four years previous to this season with Panarin featured the following point totals: 28, 30, 34, and 35 points. Nothing to sneeze at, but also nowhere near this season’s production levels. Chytil would’ve likely broken 30 points this year, if the season had been a normal one. Sometimes chances must be taken with players—if the Rangers hadn’t done so with Zib a couple years ago, he wouldn’t have scored 41 goals in 57 games this year.

  • Chytil had a good season after the rocky start and clearly is an intriguing talent with a promising future. That said he didn’t seem to make anyone he played with better. Most of his exciting moments were solo efforts where he exhibited his impressive skills. I think it would be wrong to plug him into the 2C role just yet. The moves to advance the very young prospects too soon have mostly backfired and retarded their development. It would be great for Chytil to keep improving as the 3C and move up to 2C when his game is rounded out defensively and as a better playmaker.

    The arguments against Strome are similar to the ones early last year that his previous season was a mirage and that the Rangers should dump him as he undoubtedly regresses to his mean. Instead he outperformed any reasonable expectations. Of course he benefited greatly from his synergy with Panarin but that shouldn’t be completely taken for granted. The Rangers are not strong at center so it is too early to jettison a productive one. I wouldn’t want to commit too much too long to Strome but he has performed pretty well and would not be easily replaced.

    • Chytil is already a better defensive player than Strome; how should he round out his D game further? He needs improvement on faceoffs, but that’s the only defensive area Strome has an advantage in. Chytil is bigger, a better skater than Strome, and takes far fewer penalties. I wonder how many times opposing teams scored on Strome’s numerous minor penalties.

      Strome should be buying Panarin dinner all next season, as any raise Strome gets will be directly attributable to playing with the Breadman. Strome is a run-of-the-mill NHLer, and I’d say that he definitely stepped up his game this year. How much of that is because of Panarin though? I’d argue most of it is. This year was a huge outlier for Strome in terms of his career history. Long-term commitment to Strome would be a big risk, I’d follow Reena’s advice for Strome’s next contract.

  • When it comes to lines, there is a lot of mixing and matching. My impression is that Strome is a player who does much better when his role is clearly defined and less well when he is moved about. Vastly different from say Jesper Fast.

    This is a weakness plain and simple and certainly needs to be taken into account both when deciding his salary and whether to keep him and in how to play him if you have him.

  • We have two 3C’s in these two guys. The only difference is that Strome seems to blend better with Panarin, which makes him more of the defacto 2C.

    Both need to be in the lineup next year.

  • Frontload the contract to keep the AAV down, then deal him in a year or 2 when Chytil is ready to take the job.

  • Strome presents a difficult problem because his numbers demand a lot of money while his limitations make me want to see him either moved to 3C soon or moved entirely if he can’t be signed for reasonable terms.

    I’d like to see Chytil given a shot at 2C with Panarin at least by mid-season if he continues to play well. He is rather obviously the 2C of the future for the team because his skills are apparent. However, there is no denying that Strome has played well with Panarin (but I think a better player would do even more.)

    Not an easy call. The Rangers have a lot of difficult decisions to make, I don’t envy Gorton!

  • Watching these old games on msg has gotten me thinking- what if Panarin had rw that could finish? How lethal that line would be?! He’s actually shown chemistry with an unexpected finisher-
    Kreider-Zib-Buch
    Panarin-Strome-Tony D!!!!
    Lemieux-Chytil-Kakko
    DiGiuseppe-Howden-Gautier
    Sorry Jesper

    Why not?

  • I can’t see strome ending up with more than a 1 year deal. Maybe 2.

    Anyway chytil is only 20 and it looks like I severely underestimated his scoring ability from my post draft impressions.

    I dont think its one or the other yet for this year but salary cap may have the final say anyway.

  • Can the Rangers get one of the young centers from St. Louis (Robert Thomas or Jordan Kyrou)? + _____ for Strome? Thats the type of deal that makes sense. St. Louis is in win now and the Rangers could use a cost controlled high upside center to take the 3C role. Use the immediate cap space along with a young defensman to attempt to get that elusive 1LD.

  • Rangers need to decide wisely….. because we all know Chytil is ready and he is more talented then Strome, who is not good skater and doesn’t have good enough pair of hands to finish enough what Breadman feeeding him.

    The problem is everybody knows Strome is not as good outside of the super elite forward…. and it’s going quiet a challenge to trade him for the best value… It would be intriging to trade Strome for something like Nick Suzuki or Martin Necas

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