It looks like Ryan Strome may have finally rediscovered his game.
Strome, who picked up the secondary assist on Anders Lee's first period goal on the power play Thursday night against the Flyers, now has points in five consecutive games (2-5-7). Strome, who was stationed at the right side of the Flyers net, took a feed from Josh Bailey and whistled a hard pass to John Tavares, who was stationed at the near circle. Tavares ripped a wrister that Lee was able to deflect home.
"He is engaging and cognizant defensively," interim head coach Doug Weight told reporters of Strome's play of late. "I told him I needed better plays at certain times and he's done that. He's not skiing out there and is shooting the puck well. He is producing and starting to get good results."
In 49 games, Strome has eight goals and 13 assists.
I had a sneaking suspicion that Strome's production might pick up after Weight took the reins, and the early returns are good.
His four games in February have left him just one point shy of his most productive offensive month of the season (six points this month. He had seven in 13 games in December), and I think just from watching him skate, you can pull out anecdotes that show he's far more comfortable playing under Weight. What's more, even though plus/minus is a very flawed stat, Strome is a +1 since Weight became the head coach (he's a -4 on the year).
I don't think it would surprise anyone to know Jack Capuano had essentially lost all patience for Strome, but I always believed there was just too much talent in this kid to give up on him.
If you subscribe to the theory that once you display a skill at the NHL level, you own it, then you certainly have to give Ryan a leash to be that 50-point player he was two years ago. And I think Weight is finally letting him do that. I think Strome is enjoying the fresh start he's been given, and it's making him more committed on the defensive side, and giving him more flexibility to be creative and produce offensive chances.
If Strome has developed into a true top-six forward, this Islanders team is going to be dangerous. And for the first time in a while, it looks like that's a real possibility.