Ryan Strome
ESNY Graphic, AP Photo

After finding his game again, do the New York Rangers trade Ryan Strome or keep him as a key depth piece?

Sometimes when a player struggles, they just need a change of scenery. Just ask New York Rangers‘ forward Ryan Strome. After struggling to find his game with the Edmonton Oilers, Strome came to New York and was able to find himself again.

The former New York Islander put up a career-high in goals with 19, 18 as a Ranger. His previous best was 17 in 2014-15. Not only did he put up goals, but he also had an incredible 22.5 shooting percentage in 63 games as a Blueshirt. Counting his other 18 games in Edmonton, he had a 17.3 shooting percentage in 81 games.

So it looks like Strome is getting back to his old self, and he was a bright spot in a forgetful season for the Rangers. It is a rebuild, after all. The question now is, what do you do with him?

Do the Rangers keep him on the roster or do they deal him somewhere while his value is high?

Strome is coming off a season in which he rejuvenated his career. He will enter his contract year this coming season. With the numbers he put up as a Ranger, and an almost unattainable shooting percentage, Strome has certainly built his value back up. That shooting percentage, in particular, is something that will be really hard to duplicate. So it might be in the Rangers best interest to trade him now while his value is still high.

What could the Rangers get in return for Strome? Perhaps a mid-level prospect, a second and/or third round pick. Maybe those picks can turn conditional depending on the success of the team the trade happens with.

Now, where would the Rangers send him? That’s up in the air too.

Obviously, Strome would want to go to a contender. Maybe he could be sent to a place like Calgary so he can be a depth piece to help out guys like Johnny Gaudreau, Sean Monahan and Elias Lindholm. However, he does not get a choice where he goes.

Other likely candidates may have been just outside the playoff bubble last season, like the Arizona Coyotes and Florida Panthers. For those two teams, Strome would add a lot of depth that can help create four balanced lines. Having those lines might just be the difference between being in the playoffs or being on the outside looking in. Any team outside the Metropolitan Division can be on the table at this point.

So we see the case for trading Strome. However, Strome’s solid play might also give the Rangers an incentive to keep him. Strome is not a top line forward. However, he still brings intangibles and enough production necessary to help set the tone when the first line is not on the ice.

While he is not a player to the caliber of Mika Zibanejad and Chris Kreider, he can still be a key piece to a team’s success, whether he stays a Ranger or he gets dealt somewhere else. To reach for his full potential, he needs to be in a place that fully utilizes his talent. Strome was not so lucky in Edmonton, so for his sake, I hope he goes somewhere that does.

Strome will be 26-years-old entering next year, is he a part of the future or not?

With Vitali Kravtsov and Kaapo Kakko (or Jack Hughes) on their way, maybe even Artemi Panarin, some guys are going to be sent packing to make room for the two or three. Will Strome be one of them? It’s certainly up for debate.

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