New York Islanders prospect Ryan Strome admits he's been waiting for this day a long time. The fifth pick in the 2011 NHL Draft will take the next step in what has been an impressive first season as a professional when the forward makes his NHL debut Saturday against the Montreal Canadiens.
"I feel like the carrot’s been dangling in front of me for a little while now, especially this last week," Strome told the Islanders website. "I'm eager to get out here and get to puck drop."
Islanders fans have been awaiting Strome's arrival since New York placed veteran forward Pierre-Marc Bouchard on waivers Dec. 9. The 20-year-old played for the Niagara Ice Dogs of the Ontario Hockey League and the Bridgeport Sound Tigers of the American Hockey League, which he leads in points (33) and assists (24).
Strome was recalled from the Bridgeport on Wednesday but sat out the Islanders' 6-3 road loss to the Phoenix Coyotes on Thursday. The rookie appreciated how that experience as a healthy scratch aided his development, but more than anything he's looking forward to making his NHL debut.
"Sitting out last game to watch, it definitely wasn't a bad thing. It's just going to make me feel more comfortable," Strome said. "It's exciting. Tonight couldn't come any quicker."