Date of birth: July 11, 1993
Place of birth: Mississauga, Ont., Canada
Ht: 6-0 Wt: 175
NHL Draft Eligibility: 2011
Although self-explanatory, for those of you who can recall former NBA star, Dominique Wilkins, the original “Human Highlight Reel”, you’ll relate even better to my reference as we talk about the brilliantly creative center prospect – Ryan Strome. Former NFL running back Barry Sanders also earned the moniker in the American football world. (See video section below for a dose of what I’m talking about or a refresher.)
Mario Lemieux, Wayne Gretzky, Denis Savard, Sidney Crosby and Alex Ovechkin obviously come to mind thinking of players who fill up the highlight reels. Strome could be very well be on his way to becoming NHL’s next player to be deserving of such a lofty title.
As THW’s Jeff Blay states: “Coupled with his keen offensive prowess, Strome also has a ton of heart, which shows in his well-balanced play – both in the physical and defensive sides of the game.”
But…just as Rome wasn’t built in a day, neither was the player that we now see in Ryan Strome – an explosively dynamic offensive force.
THW’s Jeff Blay reported earlier in the OHL season:
“I put in a big summer, I wanted to improve on a lot of things during the off season and I dedicated everything I could to this season,” said Strome. “I think I showed spurts of potential last year, but I really wanted to prove to all the scouts, to Team Canada (U18) that I didn’t get selected for last season, and also to my teammates and the fans that I was worth the value in the (Alex Pietrangelo) trade.
“If I keep playing the way I am I think it’s working out for Niagara, and with all the boys playing so well together I definitely think we have a bright future ahead of us.”
After gaining over 20 pounds during the summer and improving his skating immensely, Strome started the 2010-11 season leading the league in points, and currently sits second in the OHL with 26 goals, 56 assists, 82 points, a +23 rating and 62 penalty minutes in 50 games. (Of course, Strome would go on to finish 3rd overall in OHL scoring with 106 points, finishing just 2 points behind 2 Tyler Toffoli and Jason Akeson who played 3 and 2 more games than Strome, respectfully.)
“I was at the rink a few times a week working on my skating, and I really worked on my shot and goal scoring abilities over the summer,” he explained. “Really I just worked on everything I needed to – speed, strength, I put on some weight, so I feel like I’ve worked everything and I’m ready to go.”
Strome’s stock shot up the draft rankings meteorically. Perhaps only Jonathon Hurbedeau can compare in how much they’ve improved their draft value this season. Strome should be an easy Top 10 selection come June, with a good shot at going top 5. It wouldn’t be outside the realm of probability for him to go top 3.
“Ryan Strome was fairly quiet in this game, when I was hoping he would show his offensive abilities like he has done with the Niagara IceDogs this season. There were a couple plays where he went for a fancy dangle, but just didn’t seem to have it all on this night. Strome brightest quality when he is on is his ability to make spectacular moves at top speed. Strome sees the offensive zone very well, which enables his natural playmaking ability to shine. His biggest flaw at the current time is similar to Ryan Nugent-Hopkins where his overall strength takes away from his skill set. In effect, Strome struggles when it comes to board play, which is something he will have to work on.”
“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 Central Scouting’s Chris Edwards
“I remember telling one of our scouts last summer that Strome was very talented but played too much on the perimeter in Minor Midget. It didn’t surprise me when he started going into dirty areas that his whole game changed. Ryan started to become a pretty complete player in all 3 zones. I knew how skilled and shifty with the puck he was, but it was when he became willing to pay the price to win pucks all over the ice that he turned the corner for me.”
– HockeyProspect.com’s Mark Edwards
Ryan scored 2 goals and 1 assist for 3 points in 6 games for Team Ontario in the World U17s in 2009-10 as they went on to win a silver medal.
ETA = 2-3 yrs
Risk = 1.5/5 Reward = 4.5/5
#1 or 2 Offensive Centreman
*See “One Timer” section above.
- Outstanding vision
- Spectacular creativity
- Shifty puckhandler
- Deft playmaker
- Agile skater
- Great one-timer
- Work ethic and passion for the game (I bodes well that his childhood idol was former NHLer Gary Roberts who’s conditioning was second to none.)
- Coachability and willingness to work on complete game
Flaws/Aspects He Needs To Work On:
- Continue to train to increase strength and add mass to frame to handle the rigors of the NHL.
- Continue to develop his neutral and defensive zone acumen.
- Get stronger in the faceoff circle.
Fantasy Hockey Potential: Offensive = 9/10 Defensive = 6.5-7/10
NHL Player(s) Comparison:
– Jason Spezza, Tim Connolly, Steven Stamkos
– HOF comparison: Denis Savard
Off The Iron (Interesting Notes):
- You can follow Strome on Twitter
- His 1.63 points-per-game average ranked first among all the top producing OHL forwards this season. (NHL.com)
- He was voted the Most Improved Player and the Best Playmaker in the 2011 OHL Eastern Conference Coaches Poll. Strome also tied for the Best Stickhandler with Ryan Spooner, drafted 45th overall by Boston in 2010. (NHL.com)
- Strome has compared himself to a combination of Joe Thornton and Patrick Kace – intriguing hybrid!
Christopher Ralph is THW’s prospect and draft analyst