GLENDALE -- The Coyotes made a roster move on Sunday afternoon that likely surprised very few observers who are paying close attention to the team's top prospect.
Dylan Strome, who produced outstanding offensive statistics during a 15-game stint in the American Hockey League, is rejoining Arizona's NHL club, which recalled him from the AHL.
Strome played two games for Arizona earlier this season, but was assigned to the AHL on Oct. 9 and was asked to work on his confidence with the puck, his quickness and his playmaking. The third overall pick in the 2015 NHL Draft responded by notching eight goals and a league-leading 18 assists in just 15 games playing for the Tucson Roadrunners. His 26 points rank second in the AHL, just one behind Hershey's Chris Bourque, who has played six more games than Strome.
"Dylan did a nice job taking advantage of the opportunity to work on his game at the AHL level," Coyotes General Manager John Chayka said. "He was focused on the areas we asked him to work on and was very productive as well. We're expecting him to come up and continue to grow with the group here. Obviously, his production is elite at the AHL level, especially for his age. He has great poise with the puck and converts on his chances. He continues to progress on his all-around game and we felt he eanred the opportunity to be in Arizona."
Video: Strome on Recall, Road Trip
Strome said he's thrilled to be back in the NHL so soon.
"I did what they asked me to do when I got sent down, and I feel like I've really been playing well," Strome said. "I'm excited to get up there and hopefully stay."
Strome has played nine games for the Coyotes over the past two seasons and chipped in one assist in those games. He and the Coyotes are hoping he can make a bigger impact this time around in Head Coach Rick Tocchet's up-tempo system.
"'Toc' likes to play quick, so I really worked on that," Strome said. "I'm just going to play my game, just keep doing what I was doing down in Tucson. Obviously everything is a little bit quicker up there, so I've got to adjust to the speed, but I think it's pretty close so I'm just going to go and have fun."
Strome thrived playing for Tucson as the center on the top line. His linemates were Nick Merkley and Lawson Crouse, who, like Strome, are recent first-round draft picks.
"My linemates definitely helped me huge down in Tucson," Strome said. "Crouse and Merkley were unbelievable, the way they play with speed, and I think we really clicked together. It was really nice playing with them."
The Coyotes (6-17-3) depart on a two-game road trip on Monday that will take them to Edmonton and Calgary. To make room for Strome on the roster, Arizona assigned forward Mario Kempe to the AHL.
So, what will Strome's role be with the Coyotes this time around?
"We're going to put him in positions to have success," Chayka said. "He's a unique player and needs to be in offensive situations to grow his game. 'Toc' and his staff have a number of ideas of how to best utilize his skill set."
Strome is eager to get back into the mix with teammates he knows and with whom he enjoys playing.
"I'm comfortable," Strome said. "I know all the guys and the staff and everything, but I do want to make a good impression. I'm excited and ready to get going."
As an added bonus, Strome, should he be in the lineup on Tuesday, will get to play against his older brother Ryan, a forward with the Oilers.