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Get to Know an Islander: Ryan Strome

As part of the build-up to the first-round playoff series between the Capitals and the Islanders, Japers' Rink will be looking at some of the important but perhaps lesser-known players on the Islanders and how they might impact the series.

Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Ryan Strome

#18/Center/ New York Islanders

6-1 | 196 | July 11, 1993

Mississauga, ONT | 5th, 2011 (Islanders)

Assets Has superlative offensive acumen and speed. Can really make defenders look silly, thanks to a great dangle and great instincts.
Flaws Must continue to work on his play without the puck, as well as get physically stronger, in order to maximize his vast NHL upside.
Career Potential Talented offensive forward with big upside. (Assets, Flaws and Career Potential via The Hockey News player page)

Career Rolling Corsi-For Percentage:

Strome Corsi

HERO Chart (via Own The Puck):

Strome HERO
2015 Islanders Player Usage:

Strome usage

Why you should know who he is: Strome is a former lottery pick who has found success at every level since he was drafted. He scored 1.6 points per game in his two post-draft years in the OHL and hit the ground running in the AHL in 2013-14, with 49 points in just 37 games. He scored about a point every other game to finish the year in the NHL and was third on the Islanders in scoring this season, behind only John Tavares and Kyle Okposo. Despite being frequently pushed to the wing and playing most of the season off New York's top line, his rate stats were excellent (including a team-leading 2.5 points per 60 at five-aside), and he finished 49th league-wide in even-strength scoring with 41 points.

In the four-game season series against Washington, Strome posted 1-4-5 with 15 shots and a +11 shot attempt differential. He was positive in possession in every game against the Caps' third pair, which was some combination of Nate Schmidt, Jack Hillen, and Mike Green.

How the Caps can stop him: Tavares and Strome are prone to giving up chances—so not only can the Caps go on the attack, but they should, especially since his line with Tavares hasn't been as dominant in terms of possession as his lines with Brock Nelson, Anders Lee, and/or Frans Nielsen. (Nikolay Kulemin has been the third player on the Tavares-Strome line as of late as a defensive conscience.) Offense may be the best defense in this case.

As far as defensive play goes, "taking away time and space" is another common refrain that could hold true here. Strome is agile one-on-one, but isn't too strong along the boards (like most players his age). The Caps won't be able to limit his touches if the Isles' recent line combinations hold true (since that would mean giving Tavares more opportunities to create), but they can stop his progress with a well-timed pin or check.

If they're a little off, though, he'll burn them.