Editorials

New York Islanders Ryan Strome’s Focus for 16-17

Dec 31, 2014; Winnipeg, Manitoba, CAN;New York Islanders forward Ryan Strome (18) takes a shot during the third period against the Winnipeg Jets at MTS Centre Islanders wins 5-2. Mandatory Credit: Shawn Coates-USA TODAY Sports
Dec 31, 2014; Winnipeg, Manitoba, CAN;New York Islanders forward Ryan Strome (18) takes a shot during the third period against the Winnipeg Jets at MTS Centre Islanders wins 5-2. Mandatory Credit: Shawn Coates-USA TODAY Sports /
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We’ve addressed the notion that critiquing a player’s consistency isn’t the best form of criticism. No single player is consistent. But when it comes to certain New York Islanders players, what do they need to improve for 2016-17?

In this post, we’re going to focus on Ryan Strome. The former fifth-overall draft pick by the New York Islanders had a torrid 2015-16 season after exploding out of the gates in 2014-15. How does he get back to his 50 points again?

This review is part of an Eyes on Isles focus on three New York Islanders’ players: Anders Lee, Ryan Strome, and Brock Nelson. We’ve already taken a look at Anders Lee. You can find it here:

Related Story: Anders Lee: Bad 15-16 or a Really Good 14-15?

The answer we’re trying to get to is: How can each of these individuals improve their goal scoring record from last and how do they actually do it.

We’ll look at a few statistics and try to come to some sort of conclusion based on what we can see in those numbers. To the numbers!

All stats taken from Hockey-Reference

Strome Doesn’t have much Positivity

The loss of 22 points in production, losing over three-percent in shooting percentage, and another three percent in Corsi-for, all of those factors do not leave much to be optimistic about going into the 2016-17 season.

Let’s hone in on those shooting metrics. The shooting amount is lower, the loss of 47 shots could be a big deal but consider Strome played 10 games less this year than he did in 2014-15. Strome was sent down to the AHL for two weeks last November after a terrible start to the season.

But losing 3.4% in shooting percentage is more telling than it sounds. The average shooting percentage in the league is between 7%-8%. Meaning Strome falls below the league-wide average.

Fixing this issue isn’t a question of volume, but a question of accuracy. Firing more pucks at the net will probably get Strome back to at least within the NHL average shooting percentage. But to get him back into that 50 point range he’s going to need to do better.

Work Off the Puck

It sounds easy, “just fire more pucks at the net”. But it works. Just look at the top five point producers in the league for last season. Four of them find themselves in the top 21 in terms of shots.

The exception to the rule is Joe Thornton, who is more of a passer than he is a noted goalscorer.

The only problem with this “solution” is the Ryan Strome wasn’t very good and keeping possession of the puck last season. At least at the beginning of the season.

According to the NHL’s Enhanced Stats, Ryan Strome was terrible in shot attempts up until January 9tht 2016. On the 9th Strome hit a lowly -44. Shot attempts is essentially like the +/- but for shots. You’re on the ice for a shot attempt, +1. If the opposite is true, -1. They also account for blocked shots and yadda-yadda-yadda. You can read the definition here.

Suffice to say that Ryan Strome trended downward from October till January 2016. It was just dreadful, and that’s how goal for next season. Shot suppression and generation. He needs to be a better possession player.

Next: Isles Get New Blood in the Booth

It sounds like an easy fix, but it isn’t. Strome is going to have to put himself in better positions when his team is in control of the puck, and work harder to retrieve the puck when it’s going the other way. Both should lead to a correction in his slumping stats and generate the offense we know he’s capable of.

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