NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The Islanders are showing some faith in enigmatic Ryan Strome.
The young forward, who is coming off a subpar 2015-16 season, signed a two-year contract with New York on Tuesday. Newsday reported the pact to be worth $5 million, with $2.5 million in average-annual value.
Strome showed real promise two seasons ago, registering 50 points, but his production tailed off dramatically last season, the team’s first in Brooklyn. The 23-year-old center scored just eight goals and finished with 28 points, and was benched occasionally due to his inconsistency and defensive lapses.
Still, general manager Garth Snow and Strome’s representatives got together on the new deal, which came two days before a team-imposed deadline to have players under contract for the start of training camp. If Strome had not signed by Thursday morning, he would have been forced to sit out the season.
With Strome in tow, the Islanders will bring upwards of 17 forwards into camp that have a decent-to-realistic chance of making the team. Strome figures to slot in on either the second or third line, depending on his performance in camp.
Three of those spots will be occupied by veterans Andrew Ladd, Jason Chimera and P.A. Parenteau, who were signed during the early stages of free agency to replace Kyle Okposo, Frans Nielsen and Matt Martin, who departed for Buffalo, Detroit and Toronto, respectively.
Most NHL experts laud Strome’s overall game, but he’ll need to show he can do it on a nightly basis at both ends of the ice before the Isles put their trust in him as they did during the 2014-15 season, when he produced double-digit goals and 33 assists.
Strome has 32 goals and 96 points in 189 career regular season games, all with the Islanders. He played in only eight of New York’s 11 postseason games last spring, recording just a goal and three assists.