Call off the dogs, the Islanders have re-signed Ryan Strome.
Per the club, he agrees to a two-year contract. Via Arthur Staple of Newsday, it’s for $5 million or $2.5 million per year against the salary cap.
#Isles sign Ryan Strome to a two-year, $5 million deal.— Arthur Staple (@StapeNewsday) September 20, 2016
Strome is coming off what could generously be called his worst season as a pro (there have only been two, so...). He had just 28 points on eight goals and 20 assists in 71 NHL games, was sent to the minors, scratched and was generally either snakebitten or ineffective all season. The Islanders are clearly forking over a fairly large portion of dough in the hope that it was a sophomore slump and no more.
Just yesterday, Strome was at Ice Works practicing with the Islanders and getting set to hit Bethpage State Park for the team’s charity golf outing today. Not usual behavior for a guy sweating out a contract negotiation.
Turns out, there wasn’t much sweating going on.
Via Staple in Newsday prior to the signing:
“My job is to be ready for camp,” Strome said. “I feel like I had a good summer. I worked extremely hard, changed some things up in my routine and I feel good about getting ready for the season. There’s no reason why I shouldn’t be here with my teammates ready to go. Good skate, good to be back with the guys, lot of laughs and we’re getting ready to go.”
Strome was upfront about his past season not going as expected (to say the least) and mentions changes he’s made during the offseason to ensure that another disappointing season isn’t around the corner.
“Last year tested me more mentally than anything I’ve had to go through in my career. You’ve got to make adjustments in your life, in your preparation.
“It’s everyday things. Training rituals, diet, workouts, kind of changing everything and find what works. I definitely put a lot of time and effort into the summer, and hopefully it pays off.”
Strome had until the start of training camp - 7 am Thursday morning - to sign on the dotted line or else he would have been told by ownership to sit for the entire season, according to Staple. The rule was first put in place by Charles Wang, but new owners Jon Ledecky and Scott Malkin apparently like it so much, they decided to keep it going. Other RFAs that came close to the deadline were Josh Bailey and Brock Nelson, while Sean Bergenheim is still the only man to cross into the Forbidden Zone (a.k.a. Europe) after not signing.
Strome will still be an RFA when this contract ends, so we have two years until we can worry about him potentially signing an offer sheet from a rival club. And Garth Snow can go back to ignoring Larry Brooks’ emails.
By my quick (and probably incorrect) math, the Islanders currently have $1.1 million in cap space remaining. They can go over it by 10% for the next little while, but must be compliant by the start of the regular season.
Having a motivated Strome in the line-up on opening day is better.
This is also a lovely birthday present for John Tavares.