Ryan Strome‘s tough year just got a little bit tougher.
After seemingly re-establishing himself in the Islanders lineup, Strome will be a healthy scratch for tonight’s Game 3 against the Lightning.
Head coach Jack Capuano will drop Strome in favor of Josh Bailey, who returns from a two-game absence due to injury.
“I try to be a good team guy and I don’t want to draw any negative attention to myself,” Strome continued, per Newsday.
The fifth overall pick in 2011, Strome endured a difficult campaign that included a three-week stint in the AHL.
Those difficulties have carried over to the postseason. After playing the first four games of New York’s opening-round playoff series against the Panthers, Strome was dropped for Games 5 and 6 — but Bailey was hurt in the clincher, meaning Strome drew back in for the opening two games of the Bolts series.
It’s hard to say what exactly got him scratched. In Game 1, he assisted on both of Shane Prince‘s goals, helping the Isles to a 5-3 win — despite fairly limited ice time (12:26, third-lowest among forwards.)
In Game 2, his numbers weren’t as good — no points, two shots on goal, minus-1 rating, 35.9 Corsi — but his ice time jumped to 17:59, easily his biggest of the postseason.
The decision to park Strome probably isn’t about numbers. Following the Game 2 loss, Capuano said the Isles were “a little soft,” which has been one of the complaints about Strome’s game this year.
In fact, the 22-year-old alluded to it today.
“Last series [the message was] I needed to be a little harder to play against,” Strome said. “Points don’t always tell the whole story. I’m always confident in my game, but unfortunately I don’t make the decisions.
“I have to live with it.”