Oilers Should Pursue Blackhawks’ Dylan Strome as a Trade Target

The short-lived Dylan Strome experiment as a member of the Chicago Blackhawks seems to be nearing its end. Strome appears to have fallen out of favour with the coaches, as well as out of the lineup from the very start of the season. He is a healthy scratch for the fourth game to open the 2021-22 season. Even as a versatile forward that can play centre or wing, there hasn’t seemed to be a place for him.

Morning Skate newsletter Click To Subscribe

It won’t get any easier for Strome to crack the Blackhawks’ lineup if both parties decide to try and figure things out. But the more realistic option is that he is sent to a new team in hopes of finding the magic that he had when he arrived in Chicago.

Another day goes by, and another player passes Strome on the Blackhawks’ depth chart. Mike Hardman was recently called up from Rockford of the AHL and has earned himself a game before Strome. He appears to be the 15th forward in the Blackhawks’ depth chart as Hardman was in for the game vs the New York Islanders, Adam Gaudette has played two games, and Ryan Carpenter has got in one.

With two 5-on-5 goals in three games, there is cause for concern. Strome should be given a chance with his past success alone. But this may just be an indication that the Blackhawks are done with him and want to move on with the young talent they have coming up and already vying for spots.

Mark Lazerus asked Jeremy Colliton about the fact that multiple times he’s said that Strome has had a good camp.

“I think we’re just trying to find the right combination, recipe here. I’m not as worried about the 5-on-5 scoring as I’m worried about what we’ve given up and the quality going the other way, and the mentality that we’re playing with.”

– Jeremy Colliton

There may be something more if Strome had a good camp and they’re in dire need of a shakeup in order to get things rolling in the right direction. If mentality is a problem, who better than injecting someone in Strome’s situation into the lineup? He should really be trying to prove he belongs in the NHL and in the lineup, or at least showcase what he has to offer other teams.

Oilers Could Benefit From Strome in the Bottom-6

Just like the familiarity that Strome had as soon as he went over to the Blackhawks, he could have the same thing happen after being reacquainted with former linemate Connor McDavid. I don’t expect Strome to see top-6 minutes immediately if the Edmonton Oilers were able to pull off this trade, but there are similarities in the situation Ken Holland handled to perfection with Jesse Puljujarvi.

Both former high picks in the draft are, or were, seen as busts for the number they were taken at. A change in scenery, or in management, is all it may take to provide a player with confidence, or a new outlook on his situation.

Dylan Strome Chicago Blackhawks
Dylan Strome, Chicago Blackhawks (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

At this point, Strome’s talents are being wasted by sitting on the sidelines while the Blackhawks continue to play games. If I’m them, I’ve already made general managers aware that he is on the trading block. A fair asking price would be a second-round pick. They’re not going to get a first-round pick unless a team really sees something in him, and believes there is a place for him in their lineup. That first would also have to be from a team that is certain they will go deep into playoffs so the pick is late.

Any team trading for Strome would also get the rights to him after the season is over, as he is a restricted free agent.

I know the Oilers’ forward depth is tight right now, with Tyler Benson, Devin Shore, Brendan Perlini, Kyle Turris, and Colton Sceviour all batling to get time in on the fourth line. Ryan McLeod was just assigned to the American Hockey League (AHL). A trade for Strome could be deemed very valuable in finding a diamond in the rough and taking advantage of a team when their asset’s value is low.

To make room for Strome, the Oilers would have to send someone down or move them. Benson hasn’t gotten in a game this year yet, while Turris has already been placed on waivers at the end of training camp. Sceviour, a professional tryout (PTO) turned to a contract, could be an option to send down.

Related: Oilers Weekly: McDavid, Smith, Perfect Start & More

At this point right now, I believe Strome is more talented than any of the names I just mentioned in the mix for bottom-line minutes on the Oilers. He has already broken into the NHL, and has career highs of 20 goals and 57 points. Not only could the Oilers give him a chance short-term, but long-term I could see him eventually playing in the top-6 over Ryan Nugent-Hopkins or Zach Hyman once they get some years into their new contracts.

Strome has the talent and proof that he can play with elite players, so why can’t he also be the best option to fill a top-6 spot if someone gets injured?

Can Dylan Strome Live Up to No. 3 Overall?

This former third overall pick from the stacked 2015 draft has fallen short of expectations, to say the least, so far in his career. On one hand, his stock may have been really inflated by playing with McDavid, as that is usually an effect of playing with the best player in the world. But on the other hand, teammate Alex DeBrincat has turned out to be much more than the Blackhawks could have asked for after spending time on McDavid’s line in junior hockey.

World Juniors
Dylan Strome, Erie Otters [photo: OHL Images]

As the centre on a line with Patrick Kane and Alex DeBrincat when he was first acquired from the Arizona Coyotes, Strome put up 17 goals and 51 points in 58 games in 2018-19.

Strome immediately regressed, scoring 38 points in as many games, though his ice time dropped by over a minute per game from 17:04 to 15:56. Last season he produced the worst points per game (P/G) in his young career, 0.425. This saw him record only 17 points in 40 games and a horrible minus 16, doubling the worst mark in his career.

The Blackhawks have injected a ton of youth into their lineup, which has almost forced Strome out of town. With the right opportunity, and maybe not right away, he can live up to a high first-round pick. Players develop at different rates, and most times people are too quick to judge. The Oilers should give Strome a chance, and in time he will prove to be a great acquisition.

Sign up for our regular 'Oilers Newsletter' for all the latest.