Geek of the Week: Ryan Strome Still A Poor Fantasy Asset

by Scott Maran on July 8, 2018


 

Over the last few years he was in the organization, Ryan Strome was one of the New York Islanders’ top prospects. Drafted fifth overall in 2011, he entered the NHL in 2013 and started off well, tallying 18 points in his first 37 games. In his first full season, Strome recorded 17 goals and 33 assists, all as only a 21-year-old. The future looked bright for one of the Islanders’ top young stars, as he was projected to be a key player in their top-six for years to come.

However, Strome never came close to those heights again, struggling to reach even 40 points in a season. In the following two seasons Strome couldn’t even break 30 points, recording a mere 58 points in his last 140 games with the Islanders. It was then that New York traded him to the Edmonton Oilers, where he remains today. Despite the Oilers hoping that they would get the old Strome, his first season in Edmonton was more of the same, with him scoring only 34 points in 82 games. Strome isn’t old at 25 years old, but it’s fairly safe to say that we know what kind of player he is. Even though he showed flashes of offensive potential, Strome seems destined to be a third-line forward stuck outside a team’s top-six.

This is unfortunate for fantasy owners who have been hoping for a Ryan Strome breakout. Last season was his make-it-or-break-it year, and he most certainly did not make it. According to our Fantasy Hockey Geek tool, Strome was one of the least valuable skaters a person could own (in an average 12-team Yahoo league measuring goals, assists, shots on goal, power-play points, and hits).
 

 

Rank

FHG Value

GP

G

A

SOG

PPP

HITS

Braydon Coburn

370

-38

72

1

14

73

0

77

Ryan Strome

371

-39

82

13

21

147

6

43

Victor Rask

372

-39

71

14

17

126

11

62


Out of all players, Strome finished with the 371st most value, behind players such as Braydon Coburn and Jonas Brodin. His 34 points were tied for the 219th most out of all skaters and tied for the 180th most out of all forwards. Players who scored just as many points as him were Mattias Janmark, Jason Pominville, and teammate Milan Lucic. His power-play points weren’t much better, as his production on the Oilers’ second power-play unit was tied for the 183rd most out of all forwards.

His peripherals are below average too, as he barely contributes in shots or hits. Strome has always been a low-volume shooter and his 147 shots only averages out to 1.79 shots per game (154th out of all forwards). His 41 hits (for a forward who provides little offense) is terrible. A hit total that low can be excusable for players like Connor McDavid or Phil Kessel because they make up for it with the value they provide in all the other categories. Strome does neither though, as he doesn’t score and can’t provide value anywhere else. He has had a negative plus/minus in four out of the five seasons in his career and has averaged less than half a penalty minute per game over the last three years. It’s no wonder that Strome is rated so low, as he provides practically no value in most fantasy categories.

There’s not much hope in projecting that Strome will improve either, as it looks like this will be the normal for Strome. Only once in his entire career did he manage to end the season with a shooting percentage over 10 percent. Combined with the low amount of total shots he takes, it will be very difficult for him to score in the future. His 13 goals last season is right about where we can expect him to keep scoring. It’ll also be hard for him to generate more assists as it looks like he’s stuck centering the third line in Edmonton, away from the superstars like Connor McDavid who could boost his point totals. With it looking like Ryan Nugent-Hopkins will have to play wing in the top-six, leaving Strome to center the third line, he’ll be once again stuck with players like Drake Caggiula and Tobias Rieder on his wings. His peripherals are likely to stay the same too. While he did used to rack up slightly more hits with the Islanders, his hit totals have been steadily decreasing over the last three years.

Even when factoring in his new contract, things don’t get much better. Needing a new contract this offseason, Strome and the Edmonton Oilers managed to get an extension worked out without arbitration. His new two-year deal carries an AAV of $3.1 million, up from his previous AAV of $2.5 million on his last contract. His qualifying offer from the Oilers had to be at least $3 million, so it’s not much of a raise from what the Oilers had to offer him to retain his RFA rights. However, it’s still an increase by over half a million dollars.

While Strome’s new contract extension isn’t that expensive (only taking up 3.9% of the cap), in salary cap fantasy leagues this doesn’t help his value. Last season his cap hit was at least a small advantage for him, since his $2.5 AAV was a little low for any forward producing a decent amount of points. Out of all skaters, his cap hit was only the 334th highest and was only the 94th highest out of all players who played center last season. Even though he was only ranked as the 103rd most valuable center according to our Fantasy Hockey Geek tool, the two values are close enough where Strome was producing value that was somewhat expected from his cap hit. However, he’ll only be getting more expensive next season and would have ranked as the 82nd highest cap hit out of all centers last year if he carried his current cap hit of $3.1 million. Players like Teuvo Teravainen, who only had a cap hit of $2.86 million while scoring 63 points, will once again offer fantasy owners better bang for their buck as Strome only gets more expensive but plateaus in value provided.

Overall, Strome was never looking like he was going to be a difference maker in the fantasy hockey realm next season with his weak peripherals and low offensive totals. His new contract extension only makes things worse in salary cap leagues, though, as Strome will most likely provide the same low value for an even higher salary.