GLENDALE - At a Coyotes rookie camp packed with promising prospects, Dylan Strome will be the center of attention.
Strome and 28 other players will take the ice for the first time on Saturday for a five-day camp designed specifically for them before the veteran players report to camp on Sept. 22 and skate on Sept. 23.
Strome, who nearly made the Coyotes roster last season, is ready to try again.
"I want to play in the NHL this season and rookie camp is the first step," Strome said. "We all have to keep building day by day and I think that's what training camp is all about, getting better everyday. That starts on Saturday."
The Coyotes selected Strome, 19, with the third overall pick in the 2015 NHL Draft behind Connor McDavid and Jack Eichel. Those two players, of course, thrived in the NHL last season and Strome, who notched 111 points in just 56 junior hockey games a year ago, is eager to prove he belongs on the same stage now.
|Dylan Strome. Photo by Getty Images. |
"I was really focused this summer and tried to gain as much muscle and strength as possible," Strome said. "That's what (team management) wanted me to do so I've been trying to become as physically and mentally prepared for this season as I can possibly be."
Strome, who will compete at center with other top prospects Christian Dvorak and Ryan MacInnis, spent the summer working out under renowned trainer Matt Nichol and skating with Coyotes Skating Coach Dawn Braid. His focus was to build leg strength and core stability.
"It was an intense summer but it was the type of summer that I needed to have," Strome said. "I'm happy with the results I've seen so far and I'm looking forward to getting to camp and getting things going."
Strome is hoping to follow in the footsteps of Max Domi and Anthony Duclair , two young forwards who jumped to the NHL as highly-touted prospects last season and succeeded as freshmen. He has been casually following along as hockey writers and broadcasters have predicted where they believe he will play this season; most say in the NHL. Ultimately, Strome knows that decision will come from General Manager John Chayka and Head Coach Dave Tippett based on what he shows them at training camp.
"Lots of people have said I'm going to be back in junior hockey and lots have said there's a spot for me in the NHL," Strome said. "At the end of the day, none of that really matters. It's not about what other people say, it's about what you do and what John Chayka thinks and what Coach Tippett thinks. The speculation about where I'm going to play really doesn't affect me. I just try to block that out as best as possible. All I can do is work hard and try to do my best at camp and show people that I deserve to be in Arizona this year."