New York Rangers: November’s Strome-Spooner swap has proven to be a swindle for Rangers

New York Rangers. Ryan Strome (Photo by Kirk Irwin/Getty Images)
New York Rangers. Ryan Strome (Photo by Kirk Irwin/Getty Images) /

A swap of Ryan’s on November 16 was a low risk move for both the New York Rangers and Edmonton Oilers, but now after a couple of months of settling in with their new teams, it is now crystal clear who broke the better end of the wishbone in this exchange.

When the New York Rangers shipped Rick Nash to the Boston Bruins at the 2018 NHL trade deadline, it seemed as though Jeff Gorton landed a steal for the veteran rental.

Among the pieces the Rangers would receive in return was the 26-year-old center, Ryan Spooner.

Spooner proved to be somewhat of a steal in the remaining 20 games of the season as he tallied 16 points in that stretch.

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His point production had taken a massive step from 0.56 points-per-game with the Bruins to 0.80 in New York.

Even if it was a small sample size, I thought maybe the Rangers really found something here. A guy that could slip in the top six and be a part of this rebuild.

Well, as we all know, it was too good to be true and Spooner’s confidence came crashing down as his output grounded itself to two points in 16 games.

It seemed as though David Quinn couldn’t find a place for him in the lineup and before we knew it he was shipped to Edmonton by November 16 in exchange for the Islanders former 2011 5th overall pick, Ryan Strome – someone who had been nursing similar struggles.

Strome’s move from Brooklyn to Edmonton was among one of the few questionable moves made by the Oilers recently fired GM, Peter Chiarelli, in his tenure there.

The move sent six-time 20 plus goal-scorer, Jordan Eberle, to the Islanders for a still-developing Strome.

Strome wouldn’t muster the production he was projected to post in Edmonton either as like Spooner, he had only two points come mid-November and it was time for another culture change.

This deal was harmless for both sides, exchanging two under performing middle-tier centers with a lot of potential hoping a change of locker rooms could be the key to a turbo boost.

For Spooner, Chiarelli swung and missed again.

The Oilers dropped Spooner to waivers after 3 points in 25 games, now officially getting nothing in return for Eberle, while Strome, with 11 points in 29 games, has proven to be a more defined player in the Rangers lineup.

Now he certainly isn’t tearing up the league or anything, but exchanging orange and navy for blue and red has at least given Strome’s career a pulse.

In my eyes, he is still developing and he could prove to be a piece the Rangers want to hold onto through the rebuild.

In Kevin Hayes‘ three-and-a-half week absence, Strome has plugged in as the second line center and his hard-nosed play has paid dividends for the Rangers.

He has some scoring touch that is moving in the right direction and I think he feels more trusted under a David Quinn, which has granted him the ability to make plays.

No, he hasn’t proved himself to be worth the value of a fifth overall pick, but that decision wasn’t made by the Rangers.

It is the Rangers job however to coach and develop Strome in order to access his upside the best way possible.

I believe that 5th overall production is in there somewhere, it is just a matter of the Rangers roaming around with their metal detector enough to locate it and dig it up.

I think buried in this metaphorical terrain that is Strome’s potential, it’s more than some lost coins or jewelry waiting to be dug up, it’s a treasure chest.

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Just find the X.