NEW YORK, NEW YORK – MARCH 01: Ryan Strome #16 of the New York Rangers celebrates a first period goal by Vladislav Namestnikov #90 of the New York Rangers against Carey Price #31 of the Montreal Canadiens at Madison Square Garden on March 01, 2019 in New York City. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

“Anytime you have a transition like this, you just want to play,” said Ryan Strome in November shortly after being traded to the New York Rangers. Luckily for Rangerstown, that’s exactly what he’s doing. And he’s doing it very well.

Ryan Strome is rebuilding his once-coveted career on Garden ice. Keeping pace with the team’s own very public rebuild. Strome’s success fits well on the still floundering Rangers, proving to be a bright spot in another bleak season.

Redemption is Spelled R.Y.A.N.

In his last 51 games with the Rangers, Strome has tallied an impressive 12 goals and 11 assists for a total of 23 points. Compared to only one goal and one assist in his season’s first 18 games with the Edmonton Oilers. His deft stick handling and quick chemistry with his teammates put him in a great position as the Rangers consider their future roster.

Strome, currently playing on a line with Chris Kreider and Jesper Fast, keeps up with them nicely. Both are incredibly gifted playmakers, Fast still being one of the most unsung Rangers veterans. Additionally, the fact that Strome can keep up with Kreider’s impeccable speed bodes well for the line. It’s no wonder he’s been so instrumental at the opposition’s net.

A Checkered Past

Selected fifth overall by the New York Islanders in the 2011 NHL Draft, Strome was easily one of the year’s most sought after players. He had his best season to date in 2014-15 tallying 50 points in 81 games with the Islanders. Despite a breakout sophomore season, Strome’s play steadily declined, earning a little over half that point total the next season with 28.

In 2017 the Islanders said goodbye to Strome when his point totals continued to hover in the high 20s and low 30s. Ontario-born Strome fit in only marginally better on the Edmonton Oilers. Serving up only 34 points in the 2017-18 season, Edmonton was more than alright with a one-for-one trade in exchange for Ryan Spooner.

And the Winner is…

Speaking of the Spooner trade, the Rangers front office needs to pop some champagne in celebration of a huge win. While Strome has been racking up 20+ points in Broadway blue, Spooner had a mere three points in 25 games with Edmonton. In no time, Edmonton placed him on waivers.

The Vancouver Canucks picked him up on Feb. 16 in exchange for Sam Gagner. That hasn’t fared much better for him either. In six games with the Canucks, Spooner’s goal total remains at zero. He’s got three assists, not bad. At 27 however, he needs to find the right chemistry fast if he wants to return to the potential he displayed when Rick Nash departed the Rangers in Spring of 2018.

Future Plans

The Rangers hold rights to Ryan Strome through the 2020-21 season, providing the true test of his strength in New York. It’s important to note that Kevin Hayes is now a Winnipeg Jet, leaving a top center spot for Strome. Strome should be happy to play second fiddle to Mika Zibanejad. Zibanejad has undoubtedly reached another level of play this season. In 70 games, he has a whopping 66 points and counting. That’s well above his best career point total of 51.

Anticipating that Strome’s success continues, consider the Rangers once gaping hole at center closed. It is a possibility that the Rangers would utilize Strome as a bargaining piece for an even younger player after next season. However, looking at our stockpiled draft picks, keeping Strome can help out the New York Rangers.

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