Ryan Strome was struggling to find his way before coming to the New York Rangers. Now he’s an integral part to what they’re trying to build. 

Dom Renna

Coming into this season, Ryan Strome was at a crossroads in his career. He was seeing less usage as a member of the Edmonton Oilers and eventually was shipped to the New York Rangers as a salary dump in early November.

The exchange saw Ryan Spooner head to Edmonton with Strome going to Broadway after Spooner could not match the production he saw in 2018. Nonetheless, the addition of Strome was supposed to be nothing more than adding another bottom-six center to a team with a logjam at center.

Quickly, however, Strome found favor with head coach David Quinn who’s shown he is not afraid to use the 25-year-old in any kind of situation, and Strome has rewarded Quinn with some of the best production in his career.

Drafted by the New York Islanders fifth overall in the 2011 NHL Entry Draft, Strome will most likely not live up to the hype that comes with being taken that high in a draft. But what Strome does add to the Blueshirts is a dependable third-line center who is starting to find a niche with his third team in six years.

After the Rangers shipped away Kevin Hayes at the trade deadline, Strome saw his role start to increase with the increase of youth the Rangers will be deployed throughout the rest of the season. Filling in permanently for a player of Hayes’ stature is not an easy task considering how important of a player Hayes was for the Blueshirts, but Strome seems to be up to the task so far.

Since the deadline, Strome is just under a point per game with five points, three goals, and two assists in six games. But the production dates back further than that to fully appreciate him.

In 49 games with the Rangers, Strome’s found the back of the net 12 times along with racking up 11 assists in that span. He sits third on the team in goals sitting behind the likes of Mika Zibanejad and Chris Kreider. That’s some pretty nice company for someone who was supposed to be a bottom six player.

While the production is always nice to see, Strome brings something to a rebuilding team which is so important. He’s bounced around in the league throughout his career, but never let it get to him or affect his game. He serves as a perfect example for the younger players the Rangers are deploying on a nightlight basis, especially Lias Andersson.

Just like Strome, Andersson was taken at the top of the NHL Entry Draft and has yet to produce at the level other players who are taken that high normally do. Being around a player like that who has been able to turn their careers around will serve as a valuable asset for Andersson and the young Rangers because it continues to show how hard work can pay off in the long run.

It’s honestly something you really cannot teach unless you’ve experienced it yourself.

In terms of the rebuild itself, Strome is still under contract through next year and will be a restricted free agent in 2020 (per Cap Friendly). He will most definitely be a part of the Rangers a year from now with what he’s shown he is capable of doing over the 49 games he’s skated in.

At 25-years-old, he might also be apart of the next group of Rangers who contend for a Stanley Cup. Now before you laugh at that statement, a lot of things have to go right for the Rangers to get there. But a player like Strome on your bottom six will not hurt your chances at getting there.

Strome’s addition is one of the better trades general manager Jeff Gorton has been able to pull off in the 2018-19 season. He took a player who seemed to have lost their game and turned it into a valuable asset and Strome has done everything and more than anyone could have expected him to do in his short time with the Blueshirts.

He brings so much to the table offensively, defensively, and even off the ice. Thankfully for Ryan Strome, he’s starting to find a place where he can be comfortable in the next few years.

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Dominick is a graduate of Canisius College. He has covered the Rangers for the last seven seasons and the Yankees for the last four.