Nothing Left To Prove, Ryan Strome Looks to Long Island Next Season
Many fans clamor for the Islanders to get a second line center behind superstar John Tavares. Some might think, "what about Frans Nielsen?" Nielsen is a better fit as a third line center because of his strong two way play.
So, does New York need to acquire a second line center? (Photo credit: islanders.nhl.com)
The long term answer? No. The reason? Ryan Strome.
"8. First-Line Forward/ No. 2 Defenseman / No. 1 Goaltender – players with definite skill that might be just a cut below elite status, but still possessing All-Star potential.
Defense: Dan Boyle, Duncan Keith, Kimmo Timonen
Forward: Patrick Marleau, Jason Spezza, Mike Richards
Goaltender: Cam Ward, Marc-Andre Fleury, Tomas Vokoun"
Strome was the Islanders first round pick, fifth overall, in the 2011 NHL Entry Draft. The six foot one centerman has a sick set of skills which allow him to do major damage in the offensive zone. He can absolutely dazzle fans and opponents alike with the puck on his stick.
His game does not end there though. He is quite strong on the puck, which is surprising considering he does not have a lot of bulk. He weighs only 183 pounds despite his over six foot height. One would think he would be easily knocked off the puck, but his skill set aids his bulk in this department. To go along with that, he is effective in traffic.
Combine those puck skills with his excellent on ice vision and elite hockey sense, there can be little doubt the young man racks up the assists and he does. However, he doesn't stop there. Strome can score goals too. In fact, he is quite good at it. Consider these stats:
2010-11: 65 games played 33 goals 73 assists 106 points.
2011-12: 46 games played 30 goals 38 assists 68 points.
2012-13 45 games played (and counting) 31 goals 48 assists 79 points.
That's quite the goal scoring, and point scoring for that matter, rate!
Concerned about how he fairs against elite competition? Fret not. In the last two years at the World Junior Championships, the Mississauga, Ontario native has played 12 games scoring seven goals and eight assists for 15 points, and that is against the best competition in his age range in the world.
Strome has two Isles training camps under his belt so far and has not looked out of place. In fact, there was quite a bit of discussion amongst the media and fans about whether or not Strome would start the season on Long Island.
Last season, he had a few games in New York before being returned to his major junior team, the Niagara Ice Dogs.
Strome, who turns 20 on July 11th, has nothing left to prove in junior and will be given every opportunity to make the team out of training camp next season. It would be considered a disappointment if he didn't make the squad.
When he dons an Islander sweater full time, expect he will be the second line center. With teams focusing their best defensive pairs and defensive lines against John Tavares and Matt Moulson, expect Strome to have some easier sledding offensively. All he will need to do is cash in.
He also will have some help, as the Islanders will have Nino Niederreiter and a host of others which will include any number of the following forwards: Brock Nelson, Johan Sundstrom, Kirill Kabanov, Kirill Petrov, John Persson, and Anders Lee. Potentially, 2013's draft pick will be in camp. Could it be a forward? (Photo credit: islanders.nhl.com)
Some of those young guns will help bolster the forwards already on the Island. It will be interesting to see who Strome is paired with at camp and how well he will mesh with his line mates. In hockey, chemistry means a lot and can make a good line great. Hopefully, that will happen with Strome.
If it does, that should help the team overall. It will give New York two scoring lines to combine with what is shaping up to be two very effective checking lines, especially if Nielsen's line can chip in a respectable number of goals.
In any event, the electric center will be exciting to watch!
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