Friday, December 6, 2019

Ryan Strome Jersey Card

Earlier tonight, New York Rangers forward Ryan Strome shot a puck directly into Montréal Canadiens captain Shea Weber's face, leaving the Norris Trophy candidate bloodied - although Weber wouldn't even miss a shift and would go on to play a game-high 24 minutes.

Strome's been finding more net than face this year, with 6 goals, 18 assists and 24 points in 28 games, with 22 penalty minutes and a +7 rating. He is second only to Artemi Panarin (13 goals, 21 assists, 34 points) in team scoring, playing upwards of 19 minutes per game. All this is factoring in the fact that he only had two assists in his previous five games, he's had a tremendous bounce-back season.

He's 11 points from last year's total of 35, which he had to dress in 81 games to get; his career-high of 17 goals and 50 points (2014-15, New York Islanders) not only seem attainable but well within reach.

It's the type of comeback story that wins a Bill Masterton Trophy if no one has a deadly affliction during the season.

We've been hearing the word "flop" associated with Strome for at least three years now, but the fifth-overall pick of the 2011 draft has climbed up the production chart to 16th of his class, which makes him worthy of a first-round spot, especially considering Nikita Kucherov (58th overall, second round, 1st in points), Johnny Gaudreau 104th overall, fourth round, 3rd in points), Brandon Saad (43rd, second round, 7th), Ondrej Palat (208th, seventh round, 10th), Vincent Trocheck (64th, third round, 13th), and Andrew Shaw (139th, fifth round, 15th) are ahead of him.

It's a safe bet that Kucherov, Gabriel Landeskog (second overall, 2nd in scoring), Gaudreau, Mark Scheifele (seventh-overall, 4th in scoring), Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (first-overall, 5th in scoring), Jonathan Huberdeau (third-overall, 6th in scoring), Sean Couturier (eighth-overall, 7th in scoring), defenseman Dougie Hamilton (ninth-overall, 8th in scoring) and Trocheck continue hitting the same type of production for the remainder of their careers with similar aging curves, and it's expected that Saad, Palat and Shaw may regress due to playing more a physical style that lends itself to injuries as times piles on, and I'm betting on Mika Zibanejad (sixth-overall, 9th in points) to hit higher peaks than he had in past years for the next five, so my expectation of their points totals once they've all retired would have them finish in the following order:
1. Kucherov
2. Gaudreau
3. Huberdeau
4. Scheifele
5. Couturier
6. Zibanejad
7. Nugent-Hopkins
8. Landeskog
9. Trocheck
10. Strome
11. Hamilton
12. Rickard Rackell
13. J.T. Miller
14. William Karlsson
15. Jean-Gabriel Pageau
16. Phillip Danault
17. Palat
18. Saad
19. Shaw
20.  Vladislav Namestnikov
Or maybe Palat finishes 13th, but I'm fairly confident about the final positionning for the rest of the guys, with a two-rank buffer at most.

Which is to say that Strome, in less than a full calendar year with the Blueshirts, has even gone up five to eight spots in my own opinion of him. All credit goes to the way he's handling himself in a hard situation, with the pressures of a first-rounder, the near-kiss of death of serving as one of the Edmonton Oilers' worst transactions in recent memory - a one-for-one trade for Jordan Eberle, who it has to be said has been trending downwards in the goal-scoring department - to finding his game as a young veteran on a Rangers team that is going through a complete rebuild and where he was only expected to fill a roster spot, not earn top-six minutes and a new deal.

Which brings me to card #M-RS from Upper Deck's 2015-16 SPX set and Monochromatics sub-set, showing him and the rest of the picture in black-and-white save for the blue on Islanders' home jersey:
It features a matching game-used jersey swatch. Although it's impossible to tell via the scan, the "Monochromatics" text, the swatch's contour, his name and the SPX and Isles' logos are all actually in silver foil. It's a beautiful card and a great sub-set idea.

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