Oilers Trade Strome to Rangers for Spooner

The Edmonton Oilers have traded Ryan Strome to the New York Rangers in exchange for Ryan Spooner, the Rangers announced Friday. This trade comes less than 20 games into the season as both the Oilers and Rangers look to make a subtle change to their lineups to spark players who have struggled early this season.

Both players involved in the deal are natural centers capable of playing on the wing. In terms of age, the Rangers are getting the slightly young player in Strome who was the fifth overall selection in the 2011 NHL Entry Draft by the New York Islanders.

His dominance in the OHL as a member of the Niagara IceDogs was enough for the Islanders who had high hopes for the Mississauga, Ontario-native coming out of the draft. Unfortunately, Strome never reached his potential in New York with his best season coming in 2014-15 when he would score 17 goals and 50 points. The Islanders eventually decided to cut bait with Strome by trading him to the Edmonton Oilers in exchange for Jordan Eberle.

Ryan Strome Oilers
Ryan Strome, Edmonton Oilers, Oct. 21, 2017 (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Unfortunately for the Oilers, Eberle scored 25 goals and 59 points in 81 games in his first season in New York while Strome would only score 13 goals and 34 points in 82 games. With only one goal and two points in 18 games this season, the Oilers’ elected to make a change quickly and they opted to acquire Spooner who could provide the versatility that they were expecting from Strome.

In Spooner, the Oilers are acquiring a 26-year-old player who has played center throughout the majority of his career but has also experienced success on the wing as a member of the Bruins and later with the Rangers. A mainstay on the Bruins’ power play throughout his tenure with the team, Spooner could also slot into one of the Oiler’s power-play units with ease.

Ryan Spooner Rangers
Ryan Spooner, New York Rangers, Mar. 22, 2018 (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Though he only has one goal and two points in 16 games this season, Spooner shined last season with 13 goals and 41 points in only 59 games split between the Bruins and Rangers. Included in those totals were four goals and 16 points in 20 games with the Rangers to close out the season. Unfortunately, he’s struggled to replicate that success this season and the Rangers obviously saw something in Strome that was more appealing to them than what Spooner brings to their lineup.

Oilers and Rangers Looking to Compete

This trade looks like a classic case of both teams looking to create a spark on their team by trading away a struggling player with high-upside. It’s been done before in the league to great success and it’s also been done with minimal results. There’s no guarantee that either Spooner or Strome finds their footing on their new teams but both the Oilers and Rangers are looking to be as competitive as they can this season.

For the Oilers, the window to compete is now with Connor McDavid, Leon Draisaitl and company in the prime of their careers. Unfortunately, the team has taken as many steps backward as they have forward in recent years. The Rangers are currently in the middle of a re-tool scenario but are playing better hockey than many would have expected given the changes they made late last season.