New York Islanders Ryan Strome had a promising rookie campaign, which turned into a big sophomore slump, but that doesn’t matter.
One year ago today the New York Islanders were in a similar position to where they are now, eliminated from the playoffs with only the off-season to look forward to. However, there was a distinct difference in that last year’s team left us with a feeling of hope while this year’s team hasn’t. There was a discernible hope that the future would be better while this year a substantial portion of fans, whether on twitter or another medium, feel like the Islanders have stagnated their growth.
A large portion of the hope that fans felt last year was tied up in the progression of our kid line of Ryan Strome, Brock Nelson, and Anders Lee. Of the three the most perplexing season was put in by Strome.
As last season came to a close Strome finished his rookie year with 50 points while championing the second line and also earned his spot on the first line entering the team’s playoff series against Washington at the tender age of 21.
Now with the 2015-’16 season in the books what has been Strome’s progression? 28 points, a short demotion to the AHL, and multiple playoff scratches. Not exactly what you would want from a second line stud.
One of Strome’s key advantages his rookie year was he consistently played with energy. Couple that with an above average shot and fantastic chemistry with Lee and Nelson, you get a 50 point season.
As the 2015 season began the kid line was broken up and a change in play style was instrumented. The Islanders moved away from the high paced and shot heavy offense that the team had played the previous year and opted for a more methodical, throw it into the zone and see what happens approach.
While Strome thrived in the previous style of play he never seemed to gain the proper footing to succeed in this new one. In addition to a stylistic change, Strome played a majority of his minutes on the wing, away from his natural position of center. These factors led to a decrease in production, confidence, and all-around usefulness this season.
Are fans who feel a lack of hope justified in worrying about Strome’s future? Yes, they undoubtedly are after a shaky year. However, should they be worried? Absolutely not! Everyone needs to take a moment and realize that as it stands Ryan Strome is 22 years old. He just recently earned the right to drink champagne legally if the Islanders win the cup in America so everyone would do themselves well to take a breath and give him some time.
Did this season for him go as planned, no, but Strome still has all of the talent in the world, and I would say a bounce-back year is not only a possibility, but it should be expected by all. So keep your heads up Islanders fan because we have a diamond in the rough. With a little polish he will shine for the whole league to see.