Throughout his tenure with the Rangers, Ryan Strome’s job security has seemed to be relatively thin. Two years ago, the team acknowledged that they gave consideration to not tendering him a qualifying offer in part to avoid the risk of salary arbitration. Instead, they agreed on a two-year, $9MM contract, one that ends in July.
For that money, New York has received a pretty good return. Last season, the 28-year-old had 49 points in 56 games, the highest point per game average of his career (slightly besting his point per game average from 2018-19, his first full season as a Ranger). This year, Strome is off to another good start with 10 points in 13 games. Granted, a lot of that production has come alongside top winger Artemi Panarin but the combination has worked pretty well overall.
With that in mind, it would only seem logical for the two sides to be discussing an extension. Not so fast, as Mollie Walker of the New York Post reports that there have been no such talks nor is there a plan for any to be held in the near future.
New York has some significant additions to their salary cap for next season which certainly plays a role in their current approach. Mika Zibanejad’s AAV goes up by $3.15MM while Adam Fox goes from a base salary of $925K to a $9.5MM cap charge. Add that to the likes of Sammy Blais, Kaapo Kakko, and Alexandar Georgiev all needing new deals as pending restricted free agents and all of a sudden, there isn’t a lot of money left; they have more than $70MM in commitments already per CapFriendly with the Upper Limit only expected to go up by a million or so for next season.
As a result, it looks like Strome could wind up being the odd one out even though it would open up a big hole inside their top six to try to fill, particularly internally with Filip Chytil looking like more of a bottom-six forward than a top-six option. That’s something that GM Chris Drury will need to be mindful of as he looks to add to his current group with Blais out for the year. In the meantime, Strome will look to pile up the points and hope that it will land him a sizable deal somewhere for next season, even if it’s not with Panarin and the Rangers.