Islanders Ink Strome to Extension

Mar 9, 2016; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; New York Islanders forward Ryan Strome (18) shoots the puck prior to the game against the Toronto Maple Leafs at the Air Canada Centre. Mandatory Credit: John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports

Mar 9, 2016; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; New York Islanders forward Ryan Strome (18) shoots the puck prior to the game against the Toronto Maple Leafs at the Air Canada Centre. (Mandatory Credit: John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports)

By Joe Golding (@JoeGolding94)

The New York Islanders have signed their 23-year-old restricted free agent, Ryan Strome, to a two-year deal. This bridge deal is for a total of $5 million with an average annual value (AAV) of $2.5 million. Arthur Staple, from Newsday Sports had the first reports. Islanders fans can collectively let out their sigh of relief, as they surely never wanted to lose an offensive weapon to begin their season.

The new contract shows comparisons to other recent bridge deals such as J.T. Miller, Kevin Hayes, Nino Neiderreiter, and teammate Brock Nelson. All of these players received two or three years totaling somewhere in between $2.5-$3 million. I see a lot of parallels between Strome and Hayes. The two of them had breakout years in 2014-15, but fell off considerably this past season.

The bridge deal should not come as much of a shock for Strome, as he had an incredibly disappointing third season. Strome’s numbers across the board dropped like a rock when comparing it to his strong sophomore season. In 2014-15, Strome seemed to be developing into one of the games better young guns. In that same season, the former Niagara Ice Dog ranked seventh in scoring among skaters in the 18-21 age group. That was ahead of major names such as Mark Schiefele, Nathan MacKinnon, Alex Galchenyuk, and Alex Barkov.

Strome is in the minority of that group, as he was the only one whose point total dropped. He went from 17 goals and 33 assists for an even 50 points. It also didn’t help that his struggles were so ghastly that the Isles even sent him to the AHL for a conditioning stint. His trip to Bridgeport did not do much as he still struggled for the remainder of the year.

His advanced stats didn’t exactly look encouraging either. His points per game dropped nearly a full point, his GF60 dropped well over a goal, his playmaking was not nearly as impressive as it was, and his CF% dropped by about three points. This looks even more troubling as Strome didn’t see a dip in his average time on ice. He actually played a few more seconds then the previous season.

Strome should have a better campaign this upcoming season, since the Isles will need to replace the production from Kyle Okposo and Frans Nielson. This should allow him to get a little more ice time, and perhaps even get the chance to play on the top line with John Tavares. This, combined with the fact that he probably missed out on a few million dollars this offseason, will hopefully motivate him a bit more. Of course, he still has other young players like Matt Barzal, Michael Dal Colle and Josh Ho-Sang breathing down his neck, all looking to get ice time of their own in the Islanders top six. He definitely should have a fire lit under him heading into his season.

Overall, this is a good deal for both sides. The Islanders save some money for their salary cap and Strome gets to play for a long-term deal. If Strome’s upcoming season looks like this past season, the Islanders could always trade him or let him walk. On the flip side of that, he can outperform expectations and try to cash in at the conclusion of this deal and the Islanders might not want to break the bank for him. Either way, this gives both parties a bit more time to decide on a long-term investment. Strome should have a bounce back year in order to get the money and term he will want.

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