The Caps knew they were going to start the season without Nicklas Backstrom as he recovered from his hip surgery. After the Chicago Blackhawks didn’t pay him, Strome signed a one year prove it deal with the Caps. He more than proved himself and got a five year extension mid season.
Strome had a career high 23 goals and 42 assists for 65 points. 20 of those goals came at five on five. He also had 43 blocks and 20 hits while averaging 16:41 minutes of ice time on mostly the top six including a big role on the top line.
Strome ended his season strong with four goals in his last five games including a two goal effort to secure his career high on April 10 in a home ice win over the New York Islanders.
Strome’s Corsi For percentage came out to 50.38 percent, his Expected Goals For percentage at 52.51 percent, and his High Danger Chances For at 49.78 percent, via Natural Stat Trick.
Strome was a former number three overall pick by the Arizona Coyotes in the 2015 NHL Draft. He had some decent years after that with the Blackhawks but like I predicted before the season, I felt like he was going to thrive in his first season here and I was right.
Strome talked to the media after the Caps lost the Florida Panthers just days before the season ended and he said he’s felt better about himself and his game since he signed that extension:
"“I think sometimes when you don’t have that burden of ‘what contract is coming next’ or things like that, it makes it a little bit easier to just go play hockey and not worry about other things that you can’t control. I think once that happened, you kind of just settle into your comfort zone and know you’re going to be here for a while. I feel like I’m getting a good opportunity to play and try to produce.”"
Grade A: Strome did good and earned his spot here for the next five years. He will be an important piece of the team next season as they look to go back to the playoffs.