New York Rangers: Strome should center the second line

Ryan Strome, New York Rangers (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
Ryan Strome, New York Rangers (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images) /

After an incredibly productive offseason (with more moves still to come), the New York Rangers are again faced with the decision of who will fill their second line center role with the young pieces they have.

There is zero question that the New York Rangers will head into this season a better team than last. The roster is oozing with massive potential among their freshman and sophomore players. However, behind top line center, Mika Zibanejad, there is a bit of a crapshoot.

Head coach David Quinn and his staff will be faced with a big decision in choosing who will play center along with the game-changing draft pick, Kaapo Kakko. I have been reading through every lines prediction on the internet for this year, and everyone seems to have a different idea of what the situation here will be.

Some say Filip Chytil, the high-speed second-year forward, who was a bit streaky in his rookie season. Others say the more vetted and dynamic, Ryan Strome, who was a former sixth overall pick in 2011. They believe he is ready to live up to the projections his career began with.

The rest seem to think this will be a platoon job. The other options would fall to Brett Howden or Vlad Namestnikov (if he’s still here). Either way, this is a pivotal part of how successful this Rangers team will be this season.

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Teams can’t be consistent in this league without a reliable second-line center. Mixing and matching every night is not the solution. Someone needs to claim this role and follow through with it. So who should get the first crack at it?

The New York Rangers roster has been redesigned to give the young talent opportunity. Many fans itch to see Chytil put it in this role now because it’s where he should wind up eventually. He will see plenty of minutes and have more than enough chances to thrive offensively as the third line center for now.

There is trust in Strome throughout the organization. The Rangers got more of a trade buzz on him than any of the other players they were more inclined to deal. It was clear Strome felt comfortable on Broadway, going from two points in Edmonton to 33 here, while also playing a solid two-way game. Usually, it’s vice versa with a lot of players who come to the big time stage.

Twenty-three points for Chytil’s rookie season is something for him built on. He’s got a year under his belt, revitalized talent around him, and he’ll see decent power-play minutes. So again the Blue Shirts faithful shouldn’t be worried about the young center being hindered if he isn’t in the top-six. There is a lot of breathing room on this roster for opportunity now.

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It’s not too late to hope that Strome can be what he was expected to be with the Islanders and Oilers. He’s found his niche on this team, now let’s see if he can pull through when given a chance.