Don't mistake him for Connor McDavid's sidekick -- Dylan Strome has had one heck of a season and there's a reason he's a projected top five pick.
Strome, brother of New York Islanders forward Ryan Strome, had a tremendous season for the OHL’s Erie Otters and won the league scoring title with 45 goals and 129 points in 68 games, not to mention eight goals and 19 points in 15 playoff games (through May 6).
Some have questioned what Strome will produce when he’s not playing with the best player in junior hockey, but he answered those questions when McDavid was out of the lineup.
Perhaps a silver lining to McDavid’s hand injury that cost him 20 games of the OHL season is that scouts got a sample of what Strome could do as the go-to guy for Erie, a team with lofty expectations. In those 20 games from Nov. 14 to Jan. 3, Strome responded with 14 goals and 29 points -- recording points in 18 of those 20 games.
Strome says he tries to model his game after San Jose’s Joe Thornton, and 10-year OHL head coach/general manager Marty Williamson told the Toronto Sun in November that Thornton serves as a pretty solid comparison.
“What I like about Dylan is just how quickly he reads the situation," Wiliamson told The Sun. "Some guys who like to pass will wait, wait, wait for that perfect pass. Dylan is extremely unselfish. He makes that pass very early and gets it onto people’s stick at the right time. That’s a kid who really gets the game if he’s processing things that quickly.”
While Strome wasn’t along for the ride when Canada won gold at the World Juniors, he showed his dominance on a different international stage when he scored five goals and put up six points in five games with Canada’s U-18 team at this year’s Ivan Hlinka tournament.
Strome finished just three points ahead of London Knights forward Mitchell Marner (Central Scouting's seventh-ranked North American prospect) in the OHL’s scoring race, but he needed a career day to do it. In his final game of the season, Strome scored four goals and added two assists to take the scoring crown.
It wasn’t long ago that another set of dynamic teammates generated first-round buzz at the draft, with Nathan MacKinnon and Jonathan Drouin of the QMJHL’s Halifax Mooseheads going first and third respectively in 2013.