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Ryan Strome: 2011 NHL Draft Prospect Profile

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As John mentioned in the first post of this series, we will be profiling various draft prospects. From the big name guys whom the Devils may draft with the fourth overall pick to guys whom the Devils may draft with later round picks. In today’s profile, I’ll look at one of the prospects who the Devils might use the fourth overall pick to draft.

Today’s prospect profile will be about Ryan Strome of the Niagara Ice Dogs. Of course I have been pro-Strome for a while; I was the one who first suggested the Devils trade down for him. So who would be better to discuss him than someone who’s been on Team Strome for a while?

Who is Ryan Strome?














Ryan Strome was drafted 8th overall in the CHL selection draft by the Barrie Colts. While he wasn’t so great with the Colts in his rookie season, he was valuable enough to be considered one of the key components to a trade with the Ice Dogs involving Blues defenseman and then top prospect Alex Pietrangelo.

Strome’s case has been interesting- at the start of the season, he wasn’t ranked very highly. Kirk Luedeke noted that Strome was ranked 101st amongst all skaters in the August edition of the Red Line Report, but was able to jump all the way to 7th by May due to his very strong performance in the regular season, posting 33 goals and 106 points, good enough for first amongst OHL draft prospects and tied for first in the CHL draft prospects with the top ranked draft prospect Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. Strome could’ve lead the OHL in scoring if not for Joey Hishon, who sucker punched Strome, causing him to miss a few games due to a concussion. Even then, Strome held the OHL scoring lead all the way to the end of the season, before Jason Akeson and Tyler Toffoli jumped over him in the final game.


Here’s a highlight package of Strome’s season

Strome makes a Plymouth Defender and Devils prospect Scott Wedgewood look like Traffic cones

Strome sets up Dougie Hamilton

Strome's Hat Trick against the Otters

A profile on Strome from Cogeco TV

What People have been saying

"Blue-chip; Strome is shooting through the roof right now because of what he did to tear it up after returning from the Hishon-induced concussion. He took it to the wire scoring-wise and impressed myriad scouts with his outstanding skills and hockey sense. He has all the makings of a solid top-six forward at the NHL level and has star potential as well."- Kirk Luedeke

"Prevailing wisdom held that his start was just a hot streak and his production would slow down as the season progressed. However, Strome bucked the conventional wisdom. He has been a consistent point producer all season long and has been particularly impressive in the last two months where he has been scoring at a rate higher than 2 points per game. Now the question is how early in the draft will he be chosen? Is he a candidate for first overall draft choice? He has had the similar impact on his team as Seguin had on the Plymouth Whalers. His 1.66 p/g scoring is just slightly lower than 1.68 of Seguin last season. "- Sumoil from Copper and Blue

"He skates very well and has very good speed. He's a creative playmaker who sees the ice very well. He goes to the net and battles in front. He is able to get to rebounds and loose pucks in front. He has good hands and has scored some goals off tip-ins in front."- NHL Scout Chris Edwards

"Well, he’s worked hard, you know, every practice, and one of the things we talked about at the beginning of the year is consistency, and he has taken that to heart. He tries to perform every game for us, he’s been very good on our powerplay obviously, he takes a lot of pride in not getting that label that he’s hit that wall or has a rough spell, he tries to make an impact every game and he pretty well has"- Ice Dogs coach Marty Williamson.

While this isn’t a quote, Oilers blog Lowetide took a look at Ryan Strome with Desjardin’s NHLe, a tool used to determine the performance of a player making the jump from one league to another. Of all the top prospects, Strome has the highest NHLe with 41 points (12 G 29 A).

An opinion of sorts on Strome

From what I’ve seen, Strome is absurdly talented. He’s got great skating ability and hands softer than a kitten. He’s capable of scoring anywhere on the ice and is highly capable of making excellent passes, meaning he’ll be the center of attention wherever he is on the ice. Seeing as the Devils have an elite sniper in Ilya Kovalchuk signed for the next 14 years, Strome would be a great fit alongside Kovalchuk as he can make plays and open up space for Kovy to work his magic.

His personality is a good one- he’s a team first guy. While many would consider him to be the best player on his line, he mentions that a lot of his success was due to his linemates Freddie Hamilton (older brother of Dougie) and Jason Wilson.  

Strome has very few weaknesses in his game. The only thing most scouts and pundits have said about him is he needs to get stronger and work on his defensive game. From what his coach has had to say about him, he’ll be hitting the weight room and practicing harder than before when he gets drafted.

One last thing I’d like to point out- he’s only 17- he can get better, or he can regress. That’s perhaps the biggest reason why he’s not ranked higher, mainly because he’s just had one great season. While there is the chance that he can regress, it’s more likely that he puts up another strong season as being drafted will likely motivate him even more to work harder to crack the NHL roster.

Should the Devils draft him? That's a pretty big question, seeing as with the 4th overall pick, the Devils will have plenty of options. It wouldn't be much of a stretch to take Strome with the pick, seeing as he could be one of the biggest steals in the draft. However, with the rise of Jonathan Huberdeau the Devils could see someone like Gabriel Landeskog or Adam Larsson fall, two players the Devils probably would not pass on. However, if both are taken by the time the Devils pick, which could happen, Strome's upside and no immediate need for an NHL contract make him all the more valuable to the Devils, who don't exactly have all the cap space in the world.

NHL Player I’d compare him to…

Henrik Sedin: While Strome doesn’t have an identical twin like the Canucks’ captain, they’ve got a very similar skill set- both well rounded playmakers that are willing to get a bit dirty when it comes to making plays. Strome might end up bigger and stronger than Sedin in the long run, but they both play a very similar game- except maybe Strome would shoot more than Sedin.

Your Thoughts

With all that being said, do you think the Devils should take Strome if he’s available instead of someone like Jonathan Huberdeau, Mika Zibanejad or Sean Couturier? Do you think he’s a one year wonder or he’s the real deal? Sound off in the comments.