New York Rangers settling with Ryan Strome sends message of confidence in his abilities

Jim Bay
New York Rangers, Artemi Panarin
Dec 12, 2019; San Jose, CA, USA; New York Rangers center Ryan Strome (16) celebrates after his teammate left wing Artemi Panarin (10), not pictured, scored his side’s sixth goal during the third period at SAP Center in San Jose. Mandatory Credit: Cody Glenn-USA TODAY Sports

Even though the New York Rangers initially offered Ryan Strome less, the team decided to avoid arbitration and settle with the center on a two-year contract with an average annual value of $4.5 million. The move leaves the Rangers with approximately $3,891,867 of space remaining for a roster that currently has 11 forwards, seven defensemen, and two goaltenders.

Strome will earn $4 million this upcoming season and $5 million in 2021-22 in this deal.

The biggest question in dealing with Strome was whether this was a true indication of his talent or whether his true stat line was inflated by playing with Artemi Panarin. The 27-year-old broke out in a big way in 2019-20, passing the 50-point mark for the first time since 2014-15.

Prior to the agreement, Strome filed for $5.7 million, with the Rangers countering at $3.6 million. On Thursday, the two sides agreed to the $4.5 million which signifies that the Blueshirts are more than happy to keep the center with Panarin, something that was very important to the regular-season success last season. Part of this can be contributed to a very shallow free-agent pool at center, especially for a team that does not have a ton of salary-cap space.

The Rangers also knew that the pairing of Strome and Panarin was very productive, as the two compiled a .6575 goal-rate (48 goals for, 25 against) in 700:48 of five-on-five play. Numbers that the Rangers brass was apparently impressed enough to not risk letting Strome walk away and try to reproduce with a center that costs less money. This also signifies that they believe that Filip Chytyl is not quite ready to be a top-6 forward.

Strome posted 18 goals and a career-high 59 points in 70 games this past season. He added two assists in three games during the playoffs following the postponement of the season due to COVID-19.

Selected fifth overall by the New York Islanders in the 2011 NHL Draft, Strome was traded to the Rangers early in the 2018-19 season from the Edmonton Oilers in exchange for Ryan Spooner, a move that is looking like one of Jeff Gorton’s best moves during his tenure in New York.