Dylan Strome prepares for NHL Draft with help from brother Ryan
CHICAGO — Enjoy it. That’s what New York Islanders forward Ryan Strome told his younger brother Dylan as he prepares to make the jump from junior hockey to the NHL. The middle Strome brother, along with several other top prospects, including his Erie Otters teammate Connor McDavid, were at United Center Monday to watch the morning skates and attend Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Final.
Four years ago, Dylan Strome was in Minnesota when Ryan was drafted fifth overall. He remembers the whirlwind weekend and watching how the entire process played out. Now it’s his turn, and like his older brother, he’s expected to be picked high when the NHL Draft arrives later this month.
When McDavid injured his hand during a November fight, Strome’s offensive production soared and he finished the OHL season as the league’s leading scorer, posting 45 goals and 129 points in 68 games. On the final day of the regular season, he recorded a six-point night to take the title over fellow top prospect Mitch Marner.
“Everyone stepped up,” Strome said. “The defense played great. Nothing really changed for me. “When he went down everyone had to step up. I think I did that myself, too.”
Strome’s strong finish helped earn the center the No. 4 spot on the NHL’s Central Scouting final rankings among North American forwards. He feels he’s ready to make the jump to the NHL next season, if given the opportunity.
“Yeah, I’m going to have a big summer, but that’s the goal,” he said. “If you go into the summer thinking you’re going to go in the NHL next year that’s only going to make you work extremely hard. It’s only going to make you want it way more. It’s a huge feat to accomplish, not many players do it.”
After Dylan, there’s another Strome coming down the hockey pipeline. Matt, 16, is the youngest in the family and was selected eighth overall by the Hamilton Bulldogs in the April OHL Draft. The NHL soon could be filled with a trio of Staals, Subbans and Stromes.
“I hope so,” he said. “He’s doing well for himself. We’re proud of him. [He’s] a little bit different player than myself and my older brother, but I think he’s still going to be a good player.”
The draft process can be overwhelming for prospects. There’s the scrutiny, the media attention and various obligations that keep one busy leading up to the start of Round 1 through training camp. Fortunately for Strome, he has someone he can consult to help guide him through.
“It’s a long ride. I know that,” Ryan Strome told Puck Daddy in April. “It’s a lot of ups and downs. I just tried to stay even-keeled. People are going to get on top of you. People are going to get down on you and then ride you high someday. It’s just a matter of staying even-keeled, coming to the rink every day, going to the gym every day and try to get better.
“It’s about the main goal and the big picture. Just try to take consistent steps to get better everyday.”
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Sean Leahy is the associate editor for Puck Daddy on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @Sean_Leahy
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