The Rangers' Ryan Strome skates during the third period of Game...

The Rangers' Ryan Strome skates during the third period of Game 5 of the team's NHL Stanley Cup second-round playoff series against the Hurricanes in Raleigh, N.C., on May 26.  Credit: AP/Karl B DeBlaker

When he was addressing the media at the Rangers’ breakup day last month, Ryan Strome didn’t play coy. Knowing he was about to become an unrestricted free agent, he said his heart was with the Rangers and he made it clear he wanted to come back.

“I think we have some unfinished business, and this team is destined for great things in the future,’’ he said.

And then, when he was done, Strome made it a point to shake the hands of all the reporters who had covered him during his four years on Broadway. It was as if he knew he wouldn’t be coming back.

He won’t.

On Wednesday night, Strome signed a five-year deal with the Anaheim Ducks, reportedly worth $5 million per year. He had to move on, after the Rangers earlier in the day signed former Carolina Hurricanes player Vincent Trocheck to replace him as the team’s second-line center.

Strome, who was acquired by the Rangers from Edmonton in a trade for Ryan Spooner on Nov. 16, 2018, played 263 games for the Rangers, scoring 71 goals and 124 assists for 195 points. For the last three years, he enjoyed a special chemistry with Artemi Panarin.

“He's right now a big part of in my life,’’ Panarin said of Strome at breakup day. “I can speak with him about deep things, about my thoughts. We share with each other everything.’’

Strome, who left Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Final against the Tampa Bay Lightning with a pelvic injury that had bothered him for weeks, leaves a Rangers team that is a Stanley Cup contender for an Anaheim team that finished second from the bottom of the Pacific Division last season, with a 31-37-14 record.

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