Ryan Strome owes David Quinn a lot.
Before Quinn was the head coach of the San Jose Sharks, he was hired by the New York Rangers in that capacity prior to the 2018-19 season. On Nov. 16th of that season, the Rangers sent Ryan Spooner to the Edmonton Oilers in exchange for Ryan Strome. Quinn put the then 25-year-old right into a top-six role.
“My career was kind of wavering a little bit,” the centerman admitted to San Jose Hockey Now on Saturday.
Strome was the fifth-overall pick in the 2011 Draft by the New York Islanders and had never really been able to find his footing in the NHL until he was paired with Quinn.
“I can speak firsthand when I was on my entry-level contract, I had a ton of ups and downs,” Strome said.
Strome was an immediate success on Broadway, ringing up 33 points in 63 games. But the best was yet to come under Quinn.
Following 2018-19, the Rangers signed superstar Artemi Panarin and he became Strome’s new left winger.
“He put me with Panarin and he put me on the first power play,” Strome said of Quinn. “He put me on the penalty kill, so he did a lot of great things for my career.”
In 189 games under Quinn, Strome had 141 points. That 0.75 Points Per Game far eclipsed his previous 0.45 before Quinn. He also made the leap in terms of playing time, going from a 15-minutes-a-night forward to 18 minutes. Essentially, under Quinn, Strome made the leap from a third-liner to an all situations top-six’er.
“I think if there’s one thing I can say I really think with Quinny, if you were playing good, you would play more, and that was simple,” Strome said.
Strome said that in response to SJHN’s question about the San Jose Sharks bench boss’s reputation, at least among some Rangers fans, for not giving youngsters like Alexis Lafreniere and Kaapo Kakko enough playing time.
Strome, a lottery pick himself, was once in Lafreniere and Kakko’s shoes.
“There were nights when I didn’t deserve to play more than five minutes,” Strome offered bluntly about his ELC years.
But all’s well that ends well. Strome signed a five-year contract, $25 million dollar contract with the Anaheim Ducks this off-season.
And although Strome may never live up to the promise of being a top-five pick, that contract is a testament to how Quinn helped to resuscitate Strome’s career.
“As I said to him and the other [Ranger] coaches, my career definitely took off with them,” he acknowledged. “So I’m certainly very thankful for that.”
The San Jose Sharks will look for Quinn to continue the trend of developing and reviving talent, not just prospects like William Eklund but young veterans, like Strome was, who need a shot in the arm like Kevin Labanc.
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