Ryan Strome, Taking His Play To New Levels

Similarly to Nino Niederreiter, many were wondering where Ryan Strome would be playing at the start of the 2013 season. After being selected by the New York Islanders with the fifth overall pick in the 2011 draft, Strome remained with the team straight out of training camp. He only watched two NHL games from the press-box before being sent back to his OHL team, the Niagara Ice Dogs. (Photo Credit: mandelux12/Flickr)

Strome continued to impress with the Ice Dogs and had some hockey pundits expecting him to crack the Islanders line-up this year. But the NHL work stoppage has basically kept many Islanders prospects with their respective junior teams or their farm team, the Bridgeport Sound Tigers.

Therefore, Strome has continued his career with the Ice Dogs this season, playing with them for the fourth year in a row.

And like Nino, who is also getting much needed development with the Sound Tigers, Strome has continued to improve upon his skills and is running away with the OHL on his back.

In 23 games played, Strome has scored 15 goals, 26 assists and 41 points, leading the entire league. He managed to put up 68 points in 46 games played last year. At this pace, he may possibly score more than 106 points, his career high with the Ice Dogs from back in 2011.

It is safe to say that Strome will be suiting up for the New York Islanders at least by next season. If a season were to start this year, the Isles might elect to keep Strome developing with his Junior team. Finishing strong on a season that has already started with such great results might benefit Strome more than throwing him into the middle of a season that would be much fewer than 82 games.

Add to the fact that one of his line mates, Mitchell Theoret, who is also an Islanders prospect selected in the 2011 draft (7th round), has been playing at a higher level once placed on Strome's line. According to the article found on the Islanders home page, Theoret has typically been a grinder on the bottom two lines. Now, Theoret has been playing on the top line for the first time in his career and already has 22 points in 19 games played, a new career high. In the previous season, Theoret only scored 21 points in 62 games.

Strome has not only become a dominant offensive threat on the ice, but he has also become a player that makes those around him better. 

Despite this year being a tough one to swallow for all Islanders fans, solace can be taken in knowing that two of the team's top prospects, Nino Niederreiter and Ryan Strome, have improved their play and will likely be lethal weapons on the ice when they finally suit up in an orange and blue sweater.

Don't be surprised to see the two of them playing together on the Isles top two lines once the 2013-2014 season begins.

-Rob McGowan 

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