2021 NY Rangers Player Report Card: Ryan Strome

I’ve said this a lot during the 2021 season but I’ll say it again, I was wrong about Ryan Strome. And I’ve never been happier to be wrong. Last season, the numbers suggested that Strome was obviously producing more because he was paired with Artemi Panarin. The numbers also suggested that when apart, Strome’s numbers fell off a cliff. This year, he stepped up his game, and there was no statistically significant difference between his number with Panarin and without. It was truly great to see.

This season, Strome played in all 56 games and put up a line of 14-35-49, good for an 82-game pace of 21-51-72. That’s not quite last year’s ridiculous pace, but again that wasn’t a realistic ask. He’s also become a vocal voice of reason in the locker room, and his quotes have been a source of relief for a lot of people. Not bad for a flier swap of Ryan’s a few years ago.

It’s beyond the points

Strome had arguably one of his best statistical seasons to date.

There is certainly room for improvement, especially since like with Mika Zibanejad, the offensive impact with Strome on the ice is still below league average. It’s not a big deal though, especially since Strome –and the top six in general– has been putting up the points to warrant a slight dip.

That said, the team is 11% more efficient on offense with Strome on the ice than without. The defensive impacts are negligible, but he’s holding his own. Again with offensive numbers like these, you generally overlook some of the slight deficiencies.

It is worth noting that unlike his 2018-2019 season, where he shot 22.5%, each of Strome’s last two seasons has been at 11% shooting, well within his 10.4% career average. The difference: More shots on goal.

Strome’s RAPM chart backs up what we were able to infer from his heatmaps. He’s been an offensive driver, but has room for improvement defensively. How much of this is on David Quinn’s weird system of giving up the blue line by design, we don’t know.

Keep an eye on his powerplay numbers, as they do suggest a bit of an inflated success. Strome had a line of 3-14-17 on the powerplay this season, which was not operating at full potential for most of the season. Just worth keeping an eye on.

No complaints from this season

Despite all the success with the Rangers, we still don’t know what Strome’s future is in New York. We know the Rangers tried to move him last offseason. We know the Rangers are trying to upgrade at center. What we don’t know is if the Rangers plan on moving on from Strome, or if the plan is to move on from Zibanejad. There are valid arguments for moving on from either one, both, and none. For what it’s worth, Zibanejad and Strome are the same age.

But Strome’s future doesn’t impact his grade from this season. He was easily the most consistent center on the team this year. Steady on and off the ice, and taking a step forward with his performance as well.

Ryan Strome 2021 Repot Card: A.

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  • I like Strome a lot and would like to see him sign a team friendly deal. Giving Zibanejad a 7 year deal scares the HELL out of me. Strome has proven he can do it without the Breadman and that’s great. I also love the way he’s willing to drop the gloves every so often which is what this team is missing!

  • Fair grade. Strome has done everything you would want a 2C to do. He does need to get a bit better defensively, but it may indeed be the system. He also isn’t afraid to go to the net.

  • Nice to see some fancy stats back up the eye test regarding Strome. I like how he’s upped his game in various ways since arriving to NY. He deserves a lot of credit for resurrecting his career, and the Rangers deserve credit for bringing that out of him. Easily one of the top 3 best trades the team has made in recent memory.

  • The Spooner for Strome deal has to be one of the better Rangers deals this decade. Strome has been everything expected of him when he was drafted, better a late bloomer than a never bloomer.

    Strome deserves the A, and if he is willing to take a team-friendly deal in the 6-7 mil range for 5 years it would be a steal.

    • Totally agree DaRev. He is just one of the guys that does a good job day in and day out. Very underappreciated. Instead of going for another soft player like Eichel, why not go after another 2C type player instead, like a Kadri, Larkin or Hertl. Then put a lot more nastiness/grit on the wings, especially the 4th line. My only gripe with Strome is, that like most, if not all of our centers, he is not particularly good on face offs. This is where we get killed. I don’t think you can get a Barkov without giving up an awful lot, that is if he is even available. Drury has some work to do and some decisions to make. We have the skill, we need the will. If anybody doubts that, they did not watch the Islanders-Bruins series. They are still picking up bodies from the ice.

  • Agree with the rating 100%. The club will do worse not signing him to 5/6 years. As Parcells said about Simms after he took a lambasting in the press for being such a high pick without the anticipated return,..”you guys will miss him when he’s gone”. He’s a hockey player for sure.

  • One of Gorton’s best deals…no one envisioned this…at the time…it was a swap of two bad contracts. You always need a stroke of luck.

  • Can’t argue too much with Dave’s take here, especially in view of Strome’s performance while Panarin was Putinized in Russia. Strome is getting the most out of his abilities. He seems to be a leader on the club. I’d like him to be a better defender and to have a better shot, but he’s been a good 2C. A-

  • A-

    I really like Strome, BUT …. there’s always a but, right? I just wonder if based on even strength performance Chytil wouldn’t be just as productive as Strome in a 2C role at half the cost, freeing up plenty of money for us to go out and sign a legit 3C who can win faceoffs when needed, put up some points (especially with the talent we have on the 3rd line — assuming Kreider and Kravs on the wing). Like many have suggested, long term deals for BOTH Mika and Strome may not make sense. All bets are off though if both resign for reasonable deals THIS SUMMER to stay in NY. I don’t think we should go into the season with both unsigned … there’s nothing I hate more than the idea of losing players of their caliber to free agency, and since we should be in the hunt for a playoff position you know the pressure to keep both come the trade deadline will be strong.

  • Here are his last 15 games of the season stats:

    NJ 2G 5A 4 games
    Buff 0G 2A 2 games
    Wash 0G 1A 2 games
    Bos 0G 2A (both in the last game, a meaningless game) 2 games
    Phi 0G 0A 2 games
    NYI 0G 0A 3 games

    Most of these were at the beginning of the 15 game stretch, against Nj and Buff.

    A? Nope. I give him a B+ max, and the result should be that he’s traded while other teams think he’s a bargain at $4.5M. Sell high!!

    Another Ranger where the annual stats look great but the substance of those stats are not.

    • Our center feast on poor competition, but tend to disappear against the tougher opponents. I believe that speaks to the “skill vs. grit” factor from many of our forwards. Any team that has last change seems to easily neutralize our top 2 lines, leaving it to the 3rd and 4th lines to score goals.

      • I agree with your post.

        I have said many times that, with a real NHL coach, the hope is that the Ranger skilled players will play differently against the better teams.

        Because all “nice stats” do is get players over priced contracts. Look at the Oilers and Leafs? What the hell do those teams do now? McDavid and Draisaitl did nothing the last couple of games of their series. Can’t win when your best players are not scoring (see 2014 Rangers).

        Hate Crosby like we all do, but man does he play his heart out every game. Same for Marchand.

    • Zib could be sitting with the top 20 duo’s of the league.. His wingers lilke CK and Buch can’t keep up… Strome’s ability to play with elite talent has landed him and Panarin in there… Meanwhile…

      “Another Ranger where the annual stats look great but the substance of those stats are not.” aka Zib has to make the most of being a 70+ center with 45 pt wingers…… Name’s like Buch and CK simply can’t take advantage of the skilled players on their lines like Strome can.. I think you would have had a point if Strome was just a 45-50 player next to Panarin.

      • We had this discussion bro. I wish that I could post charts.

        Buch drives Zib’s play. Buch is a play driver and Zib is an opportunist and beneficiary of Buch’s play. It’s been proven clearly.

        So the idea that Buch can’t keep up with Zib is 1 million % false. And to go one step further, if Buch gets traded, then I wonder what the negative impact would be on Zib’s stats.

        And yeah, getting 50ish pts next to Panarin is not a big deal, really. Eichel gets 100 pts playing with Panarin. I get tired of seeing Strome flub Panarin’s passes. Strome is a nice player, but he’s a very good 3C, and will not be worth the $7M per he will be destined to get.

        • He’s a 2C Richter … whether on this team (which plays on the soft side overall) we can go with Mika and Strome 1/2 is another issue that reasonable people can debate all night long … but don’t suggest he’s a 3C because his talent is most definitely Top 6.

          • Strome? He’s playing with Panarin bro.

            He continues to prove time and again that better team’s 2nd lines shut his productivity down.

            Strome is a good stop gap, but he’s not the long term answer. Chytil’s pts per 60, 5 on 5, was 2.58 this past year. Good for the top 20 in the league. More minutes = more pts.

        • I’d say Strome should get a 2-year deal, max, for 5 per season. Go with that, and see if his numbers can be around the same as they were this season.

          • If he took that then I can see it.

            But if the Rangers are insistent on getting 2 high end centers (Zib and someone else) then guys like Buch and Strome are at risk for trade, for cap reasons.

    • Hey Tony: Your B+ (max) is not really much different than my A-. The grade I gave is based on his performance the past season. The entire team had a bad time in the closing stretch and at least some of the cause for it was the injuries to its grittiest players. So, nobody looked too good at the end of the season against tough competition. Your point about McDavid and Draisaitl below is well taken. But if McJesus can sometimes be stopped by tough competition, then anyone can.

      My grade for Strome does not mean I think that he should be resigned, especially not to an expensive contract. He is who he is. I’d like Chytil to grow into a 2C IF (and I do mean IF) he can. I think that he can but that is to be determined.

      I’d like the Rangers to possibly land a young center, but Jack Eichel worries me for reasons of acquisition costs and annual salary. I don’t care what anyone thinks, Buffalo is not going to give up Jack Eichel for another team’s discards. They are going to want established young players and also ones about to blossom. A cheaper route would be better, or Chytil as 2C.

      • Hey Peter.

        Chytil should have been the 2C THIS YEAR. You and I definitely said it going into this year. It would be criminal if he goes in a trade for Eichel. And if I were Buffalo, then Chytil would have to be the starter for any deal with the Rangers.

        I have serious issues with players that look great during the regular season but come up small in the playoffs. I hate to say it because I loved him, but Nash is in that category.

        Jagr was a beast in the regular season and the playoffs. Carried the team in both phases of the season. Jagr is probably the last good Ranger playoff performer, other than Henrik, since 1994.

        Strome needs to be dealt this offseason, no question in my mind. While his trade value is the highest. Don’t blow it like the Rangers did with Georgie.

      • Based on even strength performance Chytil can definitely be a 2C … BUT, it’s a big but, I think we’re looking at a couple of more seasons of “seasoning” in that role before he becomes a “win in the playoffs” type of 2C on his own (and of course some guys never can develeop into that type of Top 6 player). Chytil has the size, but he needs to develop the moxi — and a coach that promotes his confidence to be more assertive and aggressive without worrying about getting his butt pinned to the bench (or lost on the bench) every time he makes a mistake will go a long way towards that end.

  • Strome is better, than Chytil. Maybe Drury will trade Chytil and resign with Strome and Mika.

    • Yes, compare the veteran guy who is almost 7 years older to the 21 year old. If you look at their even strength numbers (and adjust for ice time) you’ll see they are equally productive — and that’s with Strome getting to play with Top 6 wingers (and most often Panarin) and Chytil getting 2 other young prospects to play with. All that isn’t to say Chytil is better or Strome is worse, it’s to say that making a blanket statement like that really ignores some pretty important factors.

  • There is a reason why Stromer was a high first round draft pick…he is a highly skilled center iceman. I can see why Bread likes playing with him as Strome likes to distribute the puck. He has improved his defensive play but by no means is he a shutdown defensive center.

    Going forward I don’t believe the Rangers can afford to give both Ryan and Zib a huge long-term deal. Someone will have to be moved. Maybe even both of them.

    • I agree Bloomer.

      Ranger fans are too enamored with annual stats, as opposed to situational stats.

      I do believe that the Rangers will give Zib every chance to prove that he deserves a long-term contract next season. But even with a banner year, giving him 7 years at age 29 is a big risk.

      Strome should be a no brainer for a trade, IMO.

  • In response to the doubters along the way; I always thought that Ryan Strome was an excellent player. A great play maker with excellent vision and despite not being tough he pushes back. In a full season I see him as a potential 100 pt player. The line with Panarin is terrific BUT they need a big tough physical winger on the left. Right now that line is too easily stopped by tight defense in the big games but Strome should still get an A for his play so far.

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