Canucks should be targeting Ryan Strome

For a team in the Canucks position, they should be exploring ways to make improvements throughout the lineup at all times.

Those minor improvements here and there, would result in a tangible improvement without the cost of trading multiple assets for a big name.

Sometimes, players fall out of favour with their current team, and become a possibility to be moved. The Canucks used such a situation to their advantage when they acquired Sven Baertschi from the Calgary Flames.

With that thought process in mind, it appears another player could be headed down this same road, and that’s New York Islanders forward Ryan Strome.

There is no doubting his struggles this season, but Strome being a healthy scratch and having trouble getting into the lineup has been something that has been happening since last season.  However, Strome is a playmaking centre and winger who produces close to a second line centre level:


As always, Hero charts should not be used as the ‘be all, end all’ of evaluation – but they do provide a concise look at what a player can provide. Looking at that, Strome pushes the needle positively, with the exception of shot suppression.

After being selected 5th overall in the 2011 NHL Entry Draft, Strome dominated the OHL and AHL before making his way to the NHL. He had a good rookie season in 2013-14, posting 18 points in 37 games. He exploded during the 2014-15 season, putting up 17 goals and 33 assists. He struggled last season, being limited to 8 goals and 20 assists in 71 contests.

So far this season – he has 2 goals and 4 assists in 19 contests.

If you look in deeper into his production, there are still promising signs. 

Strome P:60

He has seen a dip in his P/60 when looking at his breakout season, but it isn’t a drastic change compared to last season. The 1.21 P/60 would have him ranked 8th amongst Canucks players, behind Henrik Sedin (1.27) and Loui Eriksson (1.17). He has struggled to be on the right side of corsi, posting a disappointing 43.29%. However context is key here.

Here are Strome’s most common line mates at 5v5 so far this season (data from Corsica):

P1 P2 P3 Team TOI CF CA CF60 CA60 CF%
ALAN.QUINE SHANE.PRINCE RYAN.STROME NYI 26.38 25 27 56.86 61.41 48.08
JOSH.BAILEY RYAN.STROME JOHN.TAVARES NYI 15.11 12 22 47.65 87.36 35.29

The line of Quine, Prince and Strome fell just below 50%; when you replaced Prince with Beauvillier – they are slightly above the ledger. But when it was Bailey, Strome and Tavares – they got buried.

His other lines were for very short periods of 5v5 play. 

If you look at the totality of his time in the NHL, he has posted a CF% of 51.33, and goals for % of 53.02%. 

Strome - CF

2013-14 51.93% 51.52%
2014-15 53.27% 59.00%
2015-16 50.21% 46.99%
2016-17 43.29% 38.46%

This just reinforces that Strome is having a down year, but looking at the big picture – does help push the needle positively – in an expanded role, you may reap further rewards. You don’t want a 19 game slump this season, where he hasn’t been put in a chance to succeed to cloud the judgement on Strome.

Given all of this information – Strome appears to be a player that is worth exploring as a ‘cheap’ buy. He has a palatable contract of $2.5M per season for the remainder of this season and next.

Henrik Sedin’s age and lack of centre prospects that project to make an impact at the NHL level – Strome seems like a no brainer target for the Canucks. He could join the Canucks now, help while they are beset with injuries. Once everyone gets healthy, it gives them more options throughout the lineup while providing an improvement to their forward group.

The Canucks have Horvat in the fold, adding Strome would create a clearer long term picture at the centre ice position.

The Islanders have drastically underperformed this season, to the point where changes will likely be made. We don’t know what they would require to get the deal done, but you would have to assume they would want an NHL player back, plus something. Thus the price could be something like the Columbus Blue Jackets second round pick (from the John Tortorella hiring) and another piece. 

There are obvious non-starters in terms of the ‘other piece’, and we don’t know what the price would be – but if it’s something that the Canucks deem not part of the future.

Alternatively – would a Jake Virtanen and Strome deal make some sense for both sides. The Canucks are a little better situated on the wings in the long term, with Sven Baertschi, Loui Eriksson and Brock Boeser looking to be parts of the team for a long time. But I don’t know if that falls into the ‘buy-low’ category, even though Virtanen has struggled this year. 

If Strome doesn’t work at centre, he has played wing quite regularly – so he could be placed there if needed.

The expansion draft is key here – as Strome will needed to be protected. So moving Virtanen, who is exempt from being protected, and adding a player who needs to be protected would complicate matters.

Do the Canucks have a Cal Clutterbuck hanging around?

A deal that would make sense is a Anthony Duclair for Ryan Strome deal between the Arizona Coyotes and New York Islanders. If that is the case, the Canucks wouldn’t be able to stack up.

Regardless, this is a road that the Canucks would be extremely wise to pursue.

Line data information – from Corsica

Stats from puckalytics.

  • apr

    I was thinking of the same thing, but you raise a good point that Strome needs to be protected. Assuming Ganuce is left unprotected, one of Hansen, Granlund, and Baertshi will be exposed. As much as I like the honey badger, I think Granlund and Baertshi are starting to turn the corner. If Strome does nothing after a Virtanen trade and gets picked up because pedigree/potential, we would have basically lost Virtanen for nothing. I think its a really good trade in a non-expansion year though. Good article.

  • I am Ted

    I have no idea why people are so eager to move on Virtanen so quickly. I think if he improves his attitude and work ethic, he’ll be a player. So, no, I don’t want to see a prospect dealt for a guy who is in decline.

    Now, yes, I’d definitely go after Strome but it would be for a something significant lower than Virtanen. I’d offer a 2nd round pick at most. Strome needs to be protected at the exp. draft and that is also a real concern.

    Benning should also be looking at Saad who might be available at a slight discount due to his salary.

    Anyway, the expansion draft has thrown a huge monkey wrench into the mix. For that reason, Hansen should be dealt as well and might be able to bring back a decent return. Then Benning could protect all of the young forwards (depending on return for Hansen).

    I am not as high on Duclair. He doesn’t really have a big body of work/history to justify paying a lot for him. I don’t think Az will move him if they expect too much.

  • Peezy F

    When do we start projecting Adam Gaudette as a possible C2 down the road and give Bo the benefit of a doubt as C1. Since the 2nd half of last year, the kid has been awesome in the NCAA. Is it really that far of a stretch?

    • Dirk22

      The article on Gaudette from a few weeks ago was talking about how well he’s developed and how he’s somewhat defied what this website thought of the pick. That being said, the scout they interviewed still considered his ceiling as a top AHL’er or call up kind of player. So while that’s decent considering his draft position, it’s a long way from a 2nd line centre.

  • natevk

    Interesting article, but I would’ve liked to see the points you bring up at the end explored more deeply. At the outset of the article you mention that this would be a “buy-low” situation with the goal of improving the lineup. However, with the expansion draft a reality, and the key being future seasons to be considered not this one: how does trading for Strome and losing a player like Granlund or Hansen as a result impact the Canucks in the seasons to come? Every move this season involving players that will either need to be protected or exposed in the expansion draft needs to be considered in that light.

  • Strome has good size, he is 6’1 and 200 lbs. As mentioned, he was a fifth overall pick and plays center. He could fit in well with Canucks, but as always, what is the asking price. Also, expansion draft will make teams desperate to make moves. This needs to be considered.

    My guess is Garth Snow will ask for top dollars, similar to how he handled the Hamonic thing. We can’t over pay for guys who fit our middle six, and may or may not work out.

    I feel our direction going forward needs to be this: Draft well, develop our picks, attract and sign free agents. We can’t give up assets to acquire help. Not deep enough to do that yet. So, we should stick with what we have, unless a bargain lands in Jim Bennings lap, which won’t happen. No one gives away top talent for nothing. Sticking with what we have means living with things that may not be perfect.

  • chinook

    Interesting idea and good on ya’ for suggesting a deal but for the reasons several others have posted, definitely “no deal”. And one more: last year I took Strome in a pool and I didn’t do well, so no way I want him coming to Van (though I liked him once).

    I’m shocked you float the idea of trading a 2nd pick, considering how CA bloggers have pooped on Canuck management for trading picks! (and no way NYI accepts the Torts 2nd which is sure to be punted to 2018).

    • Andy

      I took Zibanehad and Pietrangelo and did poorly with them too – turns out I projected their progress too early.

      As for the price of a draft pick, Strome is considered a higher end prospect, on par with Sven Baertschi, which is a solid calculated risk. The reason I’d be bullish is that I think we have a reasonable number of developing Cs that we may experience the same pressure that we had with some of our new acquisitions (Baer, Guddy, Suttr, etc)

      In a perfect world, I’d offer two of these 4 and expect a draft pick or prospect as well:
      – 2nd round pick (someone elses)
      – Sutter/Hansen-like player (expansion bait)
      – Cassels/Sautner
      – Gudbranson/Virtanen

  • Burnabybob

    The Canucks have a large number of defensive defensemen in the system:

    – Tanev
    – Gudbranson
    – Tryamkin
    – Sbisa
    – Brisebois

    Maybe they should explore moving one of those players for some offense.

  • I am Ted

    If Benning were to buy-low on Strome (and the price should be quite low) then he’d have to make a few moves in order to get the youth protected for expansion draft. Or he makes the move after the expansion draft. Anyway, Strome is a risk because if he doesn’t improve his game then you’re a bit hamstrung.





    Hansen will need to get dealt. Dorsett will be back and Rodin should also be back soon.