With the NHL offseason essentially over, many Islander fans are wondering what exactly is going on with Ryan Strome. The 23 year-old forward was a big part of the Islanders’ present and future plans, and now there is a huge question mark surrounding him.
Strome is a restricted free agent and has still not signed with the Islanders. He turned down the qualifying offer on the June 15th deadline, and since then there has been little movement. As a restricted free agent, Strome does not have much leverage in these negotiations. If Strome does not agree to a deal, he is not free to sign with another team. Strome has two options: come to an agreement with the team or sit until one is reached.
This situation is comparable to last offseason when General Manager Garth Snow and center Brock Nelson couldn’t come to an agreement in the summer. The stalemate came to an end on the eve of training camp as Nelso agreed to a three-year, $7.5 million contract with the Islanders.
With about a month left until training camp, Islanders fans are hoping there is less drama with Strome and the front office this time around. Snow may be reluctant to give Strome a decent contract since he is coming off a disappointing season. Strome was one of the Islanders’ best players in 2014-2015, scoring 50 points, netting 17 goals and leading the team with a +23 rating. Strome hit the sophomore slump last season, only scoring 7 goals, recording 18 points and a +8 rating in 37 games.
Strome is too young of a player to give up on. As the 5th overall pick in 2011, Strome showed his potential in 2014-2015. Islanders fan should feel pretty confident that Garth Snow and the front office will bring him back. Snow has been busy this summer, signing unrestricted free agents Andrew Ladd, Jason Chimera, P.A. Parenteau and restricted agents Casey Cizikas, Shane Prince, Alan Quine, Scott Mayfield, and J.F. Berube.
Maybe Strome could bet on himself and sign a one-year contract. Strome is important to the Islanders’ success and he can use a huge bounce back year in 2016-2017 to prove that. If Strome can repeat his 2014-2015, or even do better than that, he will have more leverage to ask for a more lucrative contract.
Strome may have played himself out of a better contract than he expected, but there’s no reason why he should not be a participant in Islanders training camp in September. With little leverage in his favor, Strome will probably accept a deal close to training camp, as no player could ever afford to sit out an entire season because of a contract dispute. Right….