Get to know your Ryan Strome. You’ll recall he was acquired for Jordan Eberle yesterday in a wildly popular one-for-one trade. Eac
We asked our friends over at SB Nation’s Islanders page Lighthouse Hockey. Thanks go to Dominik for his time!
Are you sitting comfortably? Then we’ll begin.
Copper and Blue: It's been a few years since Ryan Strome had his 50 point year. His most common linemates last year were Brock Nelson and Anthony Beauvillier in a season that saw him score just 30 points. Can he get anywhere near 50 next year?
Lighthouse Hockey: I would think he can get near 50 again in the right situation. Obviously the easiest route would be "play with Connor McDavid a lot."
It's really hard to guess what's missing from his game and what might enable him to get back to at least where he was a couple of seasons ago. While players don't deserve a pass simply because of the situation they're placed in -- Strome has been with good linemates without seeing an uptick in production, and too often he has looked lost -- it's still worth noting that he's been bumped around in a lot of different slots and roles, from top-line winger to bottom-six center, interrupted by periodic healthy scratches. For his and Edmonton's sake, hopefully he's one of those late-blooming high picks who finds a comfort zone where he can be productive in middle six and second power play unit roles.
Copper and Blue: Andrew Ladd was the only Islander forward who scored less frequently on the power play than Ryan Strome. Why did this happen? Can Strome be an effective power play option?
Lighthouse Hockey: Oh, but about that. This is a case where he was almost never granted sustained time in a top-unit PP role, even though he's a right-handed shot with good passing vision and a decent wrist shot from the low left wing circle. So maybe he can still contribute here if given more opportunity, but also maybe a spade is a spade. I honestly feel like Strome never got a long enough look in any of the roles you would figure the Isles had him penciled for, but maybe the brevity of those looks was more due to his own failings.
Copper and Blue: What will Oiler fans be most enthusiastic about Strome's game?
Lighthouse Hockey: Good question. He's a good kid, he's handled scratches and tough love well, and you can still see the talent that made him a high pick and had Pierre McGuire salivating all over his mic about how he and Tavares would be a dynamite 1-2 punch. Although it seemed a bit premature for Edmonton to be dumping Eberle for cap reasons, I do think that there's still a good chance of him being productive relative to his salary/cap slot, at least.
Copper and Blue: What will drive us nuts?
Lighthouse Hockey: The undisciplined penalties -- sometimes he gets feisty to get life back in his game, and he oversteps with the stick -- and the periods of disappearance that drove Jack Capuano to nearly give up on him. (Whether Capuano blew it there is another matter open for debate.) He has admitted he's a guy that sometimes needs a kick in the butt to get going. He's probably past the age where that should be necessary.
Copper and Blue: Lastly, a question about Eberle. How important was getting Jordan Eberle in the long game to re-sign John Tavares?
Lighthouse Hockey: I have no idea. By all accounts, Tavares is a lifer who would much prefer to make it work and raise a Cup in New York. I've no doubt that all he needs is to feel secure about the direction of the franchise to make that happen. So if he likes Eberle (he does) and if Eberle makes them more dynamic, then I'd say it's another important step along with his existing trust in Doug Weight, the new ownership, and (presumably, still) Garth Snow.
Thanks go to Dominik once again for his time. Check him out on Twitter and the rest of the Islanders crew over at Lighthouse Hockey.