New York Islanders Ryan Strome has been finally signed to a new deal. It took a while , and maybe an internal policy forced the point. But by God, it’s done.
Just two days before training camp was scheduled to start, New York Islanders forward Ryan Strome remained unsigned. As the days got closer and closer the threat of Strome missing out the season became more and more real.
During the Charles Wang ownership years, an internal policy was put in place. The policy dictated that the team would not negotiate a new deal with players who remained unsigned going into training camp until the end of the season.
It’s a long-winded way to say: “we [the islanders] want this sorted out before the year starts”. Call it what you will, but it’s an effective contract negotiation tool. Only one player ever called the Islanders bluff, and he ended up playing out the next two years in Europe. (It was Sean Bergenheim for you trivia geeks out there).
It’s a Great Deal
Deciding whether this is a good deal or not rests on a single notion. Do you think Ryan Strome is a ~50 point player, or do you think he’s a ~30 point player?
Because depending on how you feel about Strome’s potential will decide how you should feel about this deal.
Just as a matter of review, and because I haven’t talked about the deal itself yet, Strome signed a two-year $5 million deal. Carrying a $2.5 million cap hit over the length of it.
It’s my firm belief that Strome is that 50 point player we saw back in 2014-15. Last year was a fluke. An anomaly. It’s not going to be repeated again in 2016-17.
Which means I love this deal. A ~50 point player, being paid $2.5 million a year is fantastic value for the team.
Why He’s A 50 Point Player
There’s one big factor here. And it’s that Strome will play center. GM Garth Snow admitted over the summer that the team erred by playing Strome over on the wing. Strome was drafted as a center and should play as a center.
With Frans Nielsen leaving in free agency, a spot opens up for Strome to step in. I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again, Ryan Strome will slot in at that number two center spot.
Playing Strome at his natural position should bring out the best in him. And return him to his 2014-15 production level.
Don’t counter with: “He owes that production to Tavares.” Because it just isn’t true. In 2014-15, Strome and Tavares spent a total of 125 minutes together. Strome spent the majority of the season playing with Anders Lee and Brock Nelson; 463:22 and 376:56 respectively.
Putting him back in his natural position, reuniting him with the two linemates that seemed to bring out the best in him will work. And paying him $2.5 million for the next two years is a masterclass.