Is a Ryan Strome discount even affordable for the Rangers?

Ryan Strome’s future in New York has always been tied to what his next contract would look like. After putting up career highs across the board, Strome has seen dollar signs in front of his eyes on a long term deal. Even with a flat cap, Strome is due a pay day.

It’s not worth getting into the risks of a long term deal with Strome. That would be beating a dead horse. There is, however, a strong case for a short term contract. Naturally this would be a better fit for the Rangers, but it would require Strome agreeing to it.

A “Show Me” Deal

Strome has never come close to putting up the number he did this season. His career was in question before coming to the Rangers. A career year, in a contract year, playing with one of the best players in the game. These are all warning signs of a long term deal.

However on a short term deal, Strome can show it wasn’t a flash in the pan. It would give Strome the opportunity to prove himself. It also gives the Rangers some more evaluation time on Strome. If he can do it again, it gives the Rangers more options.

Short Term Stopgap

At the very least, a short term Ryan Strome contract provides a 2C stopgap for the Rangers. It’s still unknown whether Filip Chytil can be the 2C of the future. Keeping Strome in the mix allows the Rangers to properly evaluate Chytil’s ability to center a top-six line.

There are rumblings that the Rangers don’t view Strome as their 2C of the future. It makes sense, given all the risks mentioned with Strome. Using him as a stopgap gives the Rangers more time to evaluate the trade market and find the right deal to address this.

The Cost, Risks, and Benefits

Based on Evolving-Wild’s contract projections, he’d come in at $4.95 million on a two year deal. That’s certainly manageable for the Rangers. They don’t have a cap crunch, per se, but they need to be a little frugal unless something drastic happens with the bigger contracts. It is worth noting that, per EW, there is only a 4% chance of this happening.

The risk here is that Strome turns into that top-five pick that he was believed to be. However unlikely, considering he’s 26, there’s still that risk. It is exceedingly rare for a top-five pick to be a late bloomer. There’s still that risk, which in turn would make Strome too expensive for the Rangers on the next deal.

The benefits of a short term contract, aside from the evaluation time, is the expansion draft implications. The Rangers don’t necessarily have any issues with the draft at the moment, but dangling Strome could sway Seattle from taking someone else who is exposed.

Of course arbitration is a wild card in all this. It’s been a while since the Rangers went to arbitration, but it’s still a possibility. If that is the case, then Ryan Strome would get a one year contract. That does fulfill the short term stopgap need, likely at an affordable price too.

It does seem that the consensus is to avoid a long term commitment to Strome. However, getting Ryan Strome on a short term contract may be an option for the Rangers.