The Islanders lost Ryan Strome to a broken wrist, so what impact will it have on their playoff chances? SNY's Brian Erni and Andy Graziano discuss...
Barring a deep playoff run, Ryan Strome's 2016-17 season is over. So, Andy: What does this mean for the Islanders forward corps, and how will this impact them going down the stretch?
Andy Graziano, SNY.TV Twitter
Strome had a bit of a resurgence when interim head coach Doug Weight took over, but had regressed backwards again over the last 10 games. Honestly, it's hard to miss production that really wasn't there to begin with.
Alan Quine will get the first crack at replacing Strome, but it will more than likely be Shane Prince, once he's finally healthy, who gets the regular lineup spot moving forward.
I, for one, am eager to see Prince get back in the lineup. I love his advanced metrics. He isn't shy about shooting the puck, and he really stepped his game up last postseason. Of course, Quine had a big playoff last year, too. And both of these guys should have relatively fresh legs. Is there a case to be made that this could actually be a bit of an upgrade over the Strome we've seen over the last 10 games?
I think so, Brian. Strome's numbers over his last 10 (a goal and an assist, with eight scoreless outings) harkened back to the struggles he had under Jack Capuano. He was just back to the 'floating' that we've seen too much of over the last two seasons. Prior to getting injured Wednesday, he was brutal, although to be fair, most forwards were.
So with that in mind, that leaves two big questions, the most pressing being: Are the Islanders optimally positioned down the stretch with their current personnel? Is this current collection of guys the best bunch to make this last gasp for the playoffs?
Maybe, but it doesn't really matter because I don't think they have much of a choice. There aren't a wealth of options. Michael Dal Colle doesn't seem quite ready for prime time, Bracken Kearns is having a fine season, but is still an AHL regular. And Mathew Barzal is in the first round of the WHL playoffs, not to mention the fact that he has been battling an unknown illness that has him questionable for game one of that series. What you see is what you get.
Ah yes, that "unknown illness." I hear it rhymes with "schmumps."
I agree. For better or worse, this is what we have. And when you consider what an integral role Josh Ho-Sang is playing, it's hard to believe he wasn't up here sooner.
So the second question, probably best reserved for after this playoff push is over, is what does this mean for Ryan Strome's future? If the Isles get to the dance without him, does he get left unprotected? I feel like this was a make-or-break season for him, and save for a 20-game stretch or so, it's been more break than make.
Let me preface by saying this. I want Strome to succeed so badly and justify his fifth overall draft selection. He's a great kid who never shies away from the media, in both good times and bad. But how many chances is he going to get before the Islanders realize he's expendable? I think it's a fair bet to speculate he's either left unprotected or traded prior to or at the entry draft this June.
I think we're gotten to that point too. And I have his jersey hanging in my closet, which I'd like to keep in the rotation if possible. So if Strome wants to return to the 50-point form of two years ago, I'd very much welcome it. But I think he'll undoubtedly be unprotected in the expansion draft. If Vegas passes on him, I think the Isles still go one more go 'round with him to try to build up his value, because -- let's face it-- what would trading him this summer accomplish? The return wouldn't be great.
No, it wouldn't. His value would likely get a bump, however, if he was to be included in a larger package for a smooth skating, 25-30 goal faceoff maven. You know, if any happen to become available in June. Maybe from a Western conference team. That wears blue and red.
Hey, I know a guy like that...
We'll see, but for now, the Islanders have their work cut out for them. And they'll have to get it done, for better or worse, without Strome.