It didn’t take long for the Rangers to sour on Ryan Spooner. After only putting up two points (1-1-2) in 16 games, he was dealt to the Oilers for Ryan Strome.
Spooner came over from Boston in the Rick Nash trade that also netted D prospect Ryan Lindgren, Matt Beleskey and a 2018 first round pick that became D prospect K’Andre Miller. Following a good start where he tallied four goals with 12 assists in 20 games under former coach Alain Vigneault, he never established himself under David Quinn.
The 26-year old forward spent too much time on the perimeter and became the odd man out despite being given every chance. The Rangers’ $4 million headache who’s signed through 2020 is now Edmonton’s problem. Maybe their style will be a better fit for the pass first center/wing.
Now, Strome replaces Spooner on the roster. A former Islanders’ fifth overall pick in 2011, he’s had his own problems finding consistency. Acquired by the Oilers before last season in exchange for Jordan Eberle, he registered 13 goals and 21 assists for 34 points in all 82 games in ’17-18. He is signed through 2020 at an average cap hit of $3.1 million. So, he earns $900,000 less than Spooner.
A right shot who can play center or wing, he only has a goal and assist so far in 18 games. His metrics are a lot better than Spooner, who was under 40.0 Corsi. Part of that is how he was deployed. Strome is 53.5 for the season. The issue is production. He was averaging 14:25 per game in Edmonton. Ice-time wasn’t a problem. It comes down to being able to contribute.
This is a guy who once totaled 50 points (17-33-50 in his second season for the Islanders. Since, he’s been basically a 30-35 point player who has been puzzling. Adding another right shot makes sense. The Rangers are very left shot heavy with only Mika Zibanejad a big scoring threat up front. No disrespect to Jesper Fast, but as hard as he plays, he can’t score. Don’t get me started on Vinni Lettieri.
It’ll be interesting to see how Quinn uses Strome. With Filip Chytil having success after being moved up to the first line and power play with goals in consecutive games entering tomorrow’s game against the Panthers, where does Strome slot in? He is an upgrade over Lettieri on the fourth line. Adding some skill to that line currently centered by rookie Lias Andersson can only help. You know what you’ll get from Cody McLeod, which is more than Spooner gave them.