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Strome Continues to Develop High-End Skills with Erie

Coyotes prospect Dylan Strome looks to end junior career with Memorial Cup title

by Dave Hogg / Correspondent

Erie Otters center Dylan Strome rewrote the record book the first time his team played Saint John at the 2017 Memorial Cup.

Strome, selected by the Arizona Coyotes with the third pick of the 2015 NHL Draft, had a single-game record seven points (four goals, three assists) in Erie's 12-5 defeat of Saint John, the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League champion, on Monday.

He'll get another chance to play Saint John in the tournament semifinal Friday.

Strome, 20, was held off the score sheet in Erie's 4-2 loss to Ontario Hockey League rival Windsor, the host team, at WFCU Centre on Wednesday. He had a team-high five shots on goal.

Erie, the Ontario Hockey League champions, and Windsor each were 2-0 entering the game. With the win, Windsor advanced to the championship game Sunday.

For Strome, winning a Memorial Cup would be a great way to end a junior career some thought would have already been over.

The players picked before Strome in the 2015 draft, Edmonton Oilers center Connor McDavid and Buffalo Sabres center Jack Eichel, are established NHL players, as are Carolina Hurricanes defenseman Noah Hanifin (No. 5) and Toronto Maple Leafs forward Mitchell Marner (No. 6).

Strome was returned to Erie during training camp last season, and this season had one assist in seven NHL games before being sent back to his junior team Nov. 20.

"You are going against very special players at that level," Strome said. "When you make a mistake it turns into a goal. You have to play faster and you have to be better in your defensive end."

Each time Strome has been sent back to junior, he's responded the right way. He was fourth in the OHL last season with 111 points (37 goals, 74 assists) in 56 regular-season games.

This season, he had 75 points (22 goals, 53 assists) in 35 games. His average of 2.14 points per game is the second highest in the league in the past 10 seasons, behind McDavid's 2.55 average (120 points in 47 games) in 2014-15.

Strome also had 10 points (three goals, seven assists) in seven games and was the captain of silver-medalist Canada at the 2017 IIHF World Junior Championship.

"People said that I didn't have anything left to accomplish in junior hockey, but I wanted to win an OHL title and I wanted to win the Memorial Cup," Strome said. "We won the OHL championship and now we've got a shot at the Memorial Cup."

Strome finished the OHL season with three assists in Game 5 of the league final when Erie defeated Mississauga 4-3 in overtime to win its first championship since 2002. He was second in the playoffs with 34 points (14 goals, 20 assists) in 22 games, one fewer than teammate Alex DeBrincat (Chicago Blackhawks).

During the Memorial Cup his eight points (five goals, three assists) are one behind teammate Taylor Raddysh (Tampa Bay Lightning), and he's tied for the lead in goals with Jeremiah Addison (Montreal Canadiens) of Windsor.

"There are a lot of players who get sent back and have trouble overcoming the disappointment," Erie Head Coach Kris Knoblauch said. "But Dylan has never been like that. That's a major reason we are here."

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