2015 NHL Draft Profiles: Dylan Strome

Dylan Strome – 6’3, 190 lbs, centre from the Erie Otters (OHL)

Rankings:

  • #3 by ISS Hockey
  • #4 by Future Considerations
  • #8 by Mckeen’s Hockey
  • #4 by Bob Mckenzie consensus rankings


Dylan Strome Strengths:

  • Excellent pedigree of success and winning – Mississauga born hockey player who was named GTHL player of the year, became the #2 overall selection in the 2013 OHL Priority Draft, Gold Medallist for Canada at the Ivan Hlinka tournament, part of the impressive Strome hockey family (2011 5th overall pick Ryan Strome is a burgeoning young star for the Islanders).
  • Accelerated offensive development – After scoring 39 points last year, he has more than tripled than output (129 pts) this season to lead the Otters. He has thrived under the increased opportunity and ice-time. He is an elite-level scoring centre that thrives with the puck on his stick in open ice and uses his long reach to weave around oncoming defenders. He can find teammates with crisp passes through traffic on the rush or on during 5 on 5 play. The skillset is topped off with a well above average wrist shot that he can get off quickly and accurately.
  • Well-built for the modern game – Strome possesses a big, strong frame but moves surprisingly well, especially on the rush in open ice. Acceleration is average to slightly below, but his ability to maneuver with the puck and find seams in open ice is impressive. He has spent time at all three forward positions for the Otters, but seems more comfortable with space down the middle ice than along the boards. He demonstrates a nose for the net and has an excellent ability to find pucks in traffic for deflections or rebounds.

Dylan Strome Criticisms:

  • Can he score without McDavid – This question has been asked all season, and Strome was especially under the microscope when McDavid went down for a stretch with a midseason injury. Strome played 2nd line centre for most of the season when McDavid was healthy, thus shielding him from the opposing team’s top pairing defenders. Strome and McDavid would play together on the powerplay, with Strome’s big presence felt primarily in the slot and in front of the net. With McDavid, Strome scored 94 points in 47 games, good for 2.00 points/game. Without him, he scored 35 points in 21 games, good for 1.67 points/game as the 1st line centre on Erie.
  • Defensive game needs work – While he unlikely ever be a high level two-way player, he must handle his defensive responsibilities better in order to be an elite top line centre in the NHL. He can trouble with his transition game, particularly off turnovers in neutral ice, whereby the opposing centre can beat him back up the ice to create an odd-man rush. He has a good reach and demonstrates an ability to force opposing forwards to the outside, but has been prone to lose puck watch and lose his man on broken plays in his own zone.

The Verdict:

  • Potential is sky high – He projects to be a true, first line centre in the mold of a Ryan Getzlaf – a player around whom you could build a championship calibre top line.
  • Draft Day – The Phoenix Coyotes are rumored to have very strong interest in Strome at 3rd overall, though he could quite possibility fall as low as #6 or #7. Aside from the obvious gaping hole at the franchise centre position, the storybook fit between a local kid and a team in need of something to feel good about cannot be understated. The Maple Leafs would and should have very serious interest if he’s there on the board.

Dylan Strome Interview

Courtesy of The Pipeline Show:

On his playoff performance:
I felt okay. I mean, obviously the numbers haven’t been the same since the regular season, but I’m okay with that. It doesn’t really affect me, it doesn’t really bother me too much. I think the guys ahead of me in the standings would much rather be where I am right now in the Finals. It doesn’t really affect me too much. I’m okay with going out there and getting no points and the win as opposed to getting three points and losing. That’s what playoff hockey is, that’s what it comes down to. Our whole team is a pretty tight knit group and when you have a guy putting up the numbers like Connor is you don’t have to worry about that all the time.

On being in McDavid’s shadow:
It’s been different. It’s been fun. He’s one of my best friends, or he is my best friend. To kind of go through this whole process with him has been fun. I’ve been kind of going through it the whole year so I don’t really find too many negatives from it. I just kind of go out there and we kind of just do our thing. We have fun. We like to put the puck in the back of the net and when we’re doing that we’re having our most fun. We’re really a tight knit group and we’ve got so many close friends on this team there’s no problems. There’s no guys that don’t like each other. We’re just really close. That speaks volumes for myself and Connor. We’re just really great friends and going through the whole draft year together, obviously it’s been different with him getting the injury and people saying it was kind of my time to step up, but I think the whole team stepped up. It wasn’t just me, everyone kind of did their part.

As a young brother of an NHLer, did the experience of ‘playing in the shadow’ help?
Yeah. I think it definitely helped. You never like to be in the shadow, but when you’re in the shadow of a guy that is probably the best player in the world outside of the NHL – he is the best player outside the NHL – it isn’t such a bad thing. I guess I learned a lot from when my brother was going through the process, just kind of watching him and being the younger Strome. I think I fared pretty well for myself and I’ve had fun, and he’s helped me along the way. Obviously everyone knew Connor was going to have the year that he had and we kind of just went through the process together.

On how often he played with McDavid:
We played probably about four or five games on the same line, just when we had injuries at the start of the year. Other than that, pretty much every powerplay we get we are on the ice together, so sometimes that’s two minutes a night and sometimes that’s four or six. It really depends. Sometimes there’s no powerplays in a game so we don’t get any time together. It’s kind of something that people have been saying the whole year, but like you said, the people who watch junior hockey have kind of a better understanding that we don’t really play together as much as people would think. Obviously, yeah, he’s pretty special and when you give him the puck you pick up an assist here or there, but I think my linemates and I worked pretty well in the second half of the year with myself and Nick Baptiste, and we’ve had a couple of different wingers in Nick Betz and Mason Marchment and Kyle Maksimovich. We’ve had a lot success just by ourselves but it’s definitely nice going into the powerplay with one of the best players in the world.

On describing himself as a player:
I think I am a player that likes to have the puck on my stick. I think my skating needs to come a long way if I ever want to play in the NHL but I’m aware of that and I think that’s just going to come with time and building strength. I’m a player that likes to have the puck on my stick and find my teammates in the offensive zone. I like playing on the powerplay, I like doing whatever it takes to win. I’ve kind of liked to think of myself as a winner wherever I’ve been in my hockey career. I’ve played on the Marlies for seven years and we won six straight GTHL championships, and a couple of OHF championships. That’s kind of been my family and myself; we like to win. We’re competitive. We compete even when we’re playing stupid board games or mini sticks or road hockey in the driveway. I like to think of myself as a competitive guy and a winner, and hopefully I can back that statement up with an OHL championship.

On using his size:
I think you’re right when you say I’m not really a power forward, but I kind of like to use my body to protect the puck.

On his huge jump in production from last year:
I’m not sure if I was expecting that many [points]. Kind of just throughout the year we kind of played with more confidence and kind of everything just started to roll. We played our first game of the year in Saginaw and no one really knew what to expect. We had a pretty good preseason but I guess things were kind of really up in the air. I think on my second shift this year I got an assist and kind of things just kept rolling for myself and my linemates. We got off to a really good start. When you get a couple big games to start the year you expect that of yourself to be that kind of player and to put up numbers for your team. When you’re going on the ice you’re team is expecting you to score and obviously you have to score to win games. I think I obviously wasn’t expecting that big of a jump, but I knew my brother did the exact same thing in his draft year. He had 27 points his first year and 106 the second year. We kind of followed in each other’s footsteps there. I think I obviously wasn’t expecting that high of a number but it’s definitely a pretty cool thing to be recognized by.

Dylan Strome of the Erie Otters (photo: OHL Images)
Dylan Strome of the Erie Otters (photo: OHL Images)

Experts Take: Dylan Strome

Sean Lafortune (@SeanLafortune) speaking about Dylan Strome on The Pipeline Show:
For me, it’s Marner [at number three] but it’s a 3A with Strome.

Dylan is a player I’ve had the pleasure to watch for quite a bit now. He grew up in the Marlies program here in Ontario. Very, very cerebral player; he’s very much like his brother in that sense, in that the way he breaks down plays it’s outstanding to watch. Even earlier in his Erie career, when he didn’t have high-end guys like Baptiste and Betz playing with him, he was still able to produce. People will knock his skating and there is some merit to that, but when you watch him play he purposely slows the game down and reads the play. He’s got a 360 degree view of the ice. It’s a pleasure to watch him break things down and he sees things where you go, “how did he even see that?” He’s able to just use his creativity and his vision to create, that’s why he’s averaging 1.5 or 1.7 points per game. A lot of that isn’t even playing with McDavid because he plays on a separate line. His skating is something he’s going to have work on, but he’s implemented a style of play that isn’t predicated on his speed. While it is something he has to work on – and he has done better at it, let’s give him credit for that, too – his play isn’t going to be held back by his speed regardless.

I would say he’s above average on the dot. It’s not one of his high-end skills. He wins draws probably more than he doesn’t. When you watch him play, you don’t take notice of that sort of stuff. He’s definitely an offensive zone guy though. He does track back, he does support; again, when his feet come into play and the fact that he doesn’t always take the prime routes, he’s going to take shortcuts some of the other guys don’t. He’s no slouch in his own zone, he wins draws, he won’t hurt you in that sense.

Craig Button (@CraigJButton) speaking about Dylan Strome on The Pipeline Show:
When it’s close like that [between Marner and Strome], I always default to the centerman. I will 100% of the time take the centerman over the winger. I think it’s close between Dylan Strome and Mitchell Marner, I think it’s razor thin close. With that being said, Mitch Marner poses a little bit greater challenge in my view because I think he’s a unique winger. I think most wingers are skate up the ice, shoot, and have speed or what not; he can shoot, but he’s a playmaker and he’s a creative player off the wing. You don’t see a lot of players like that. I’m certainly not suggesting it would be an easier one, but for me I default to the centerman. I just think number one centers are so hard to find. I use the Chicago Blackhawks; yes, they drafted Patrick Kane, but they did that knowing they had Jonathan Toews in the fold. I think that that always becomes a factor for your organization. If you have a couple of centers or a center that you think is really good, then Mitch Marner is not a guy you would pass on. But if you don’t have that number one center, I’m taking the number one center.

Mark Edwards (@MarkEdwardsHP) speaking about Dylan Strome on The Pipeline Show:
The first time I saw him, obviously I knew the name, it was in a triple-A tournament in London. I started watching the skating and, oh my God, it left you wanting more. You thought, how is this kid going to pull it off? No one is going to call him an elite skater right now, but I’m telling you, if you saw him early in his OHL draft year and how far his skating has even come from his draft year to now, it’s impressive. He’s a smart hockey player. Like a Marner, I like that he competes all over the place. You’ll see him hustle and back pressure, working hard on the backcheck, and pretty smart in his own zone. I think he’s another excellent playmaker; in minor midget, surrounded by the kind of talent they usually have on those Marlies teams that usually dominate, he just moved the puck around and guys were just, “can I be on his line?” type of thing. I thought he got off to a good start early in the year and he just carried it. The McDavid injury [was] good for him, he [performed] and put up points and not having to listen to any McDavid [stuff]. They played on opposite lines a lot of the time, too.

Dylan Strome Statistics

SEASONTEAMLEAGUEGPGATPPIM+/- POSTGPGATPPIM+/-
2011-12Toronto Marlboros Bantam AAAGTBHL-----|
2012-13Toronto Marlboros Minor Mdgt AAAGTMMHL6065781438|
2013-14Erie OttersOHL601029391117|Playoffs1436902
Canada Ontario U17WHC-17565110|
2014-15Erie OttersOHL6845841293247|Playoffs1591019101
 GPG1st Assist2nd AssistTotal PtsNHLeES PtsES PPGES Pts/60%ESTOITMPt%TMGl%%TGC
Strome6845523312946791.163.2335.99%39.76%13.76%11.45%

Glossary via CHLstats:
NHLe - The number of points the player would have scored if they were in the NHL this year. Translation factors are based on Rob Vollman’s research which currently sets the WHL and QMJHL as 0.26 while the OHL is 0.3.
TmGl% - Team’s Goals Percentage: What percentage of your goals account for the team’s goals in all games.
TmPt% - Team Point Percentage: what percentage your points account for all of the teams scoring. Currently is based on every goal scored by the team.
%ESTOI - Percentage of ES TOI: As we all teams do not play equal even-strength time per game we represent this as a percentage. Compares TOI for prospects without special teams adjusting the results.

Dylan Strome Video

Dylan Strome – Shift by Shift:

Dylan Strome Highlights: