GLENDALE -- It could’ve been easy for Dylan Strome to get lost in the shuffle over the past few months.
Taken third overall by the Coyotes this past June in an NHL Entry Draft that included two generational talents who were picked with the top two selections, Strome landed in Arizona and then found himself in a training camp surrounded by top prospects such as Max Domi and Anthony Duclair.
But the 18-year-old center has done more than just survive the first few rounds of cuts at Coyotes camp. His strong play and vision on the ice have turned heads and have forced the organization to take a good, long look at him deep into the preseason.
|Dylan Strome. Photo by Getty Images. |
Case in point: On Tuesday night in Los Angeles, Strome made his preseason debut on a line alongside wingers Matthias Plachta and Mikkel Boedker and ran with the opportunity. He logged 17:08 of ice time, including 4:11 on the power play, and put the Coyotes on the board with a power-play goal off a wrist shot just 3:24 into the opening period.
"He was very solid,” Head Coach Dave Tippett said. “LA had just about their whole lineup in … and Strome played against everybody. He played head-to-head against (Anze) Kopitar quite a bit in the third and I thought he played well.”
One day after his debut, Strome talked about how things went on Tuesday night at Staples Center while keeping his general performance at training camp in perspective.
“It’s been good,” Strome said. “We’re a couple games in now and I think I’m doing OK. I can always get better but I think for the first game, in Los Angeles against some pretty good players, it was a pretty good game. So, I’m just trying to get better every game and continue working hard and showing the coaches and the general manager and the staff that I can play here.”
|Dylan Strome. Photo by Norm Hall. |
Strome experienced a sharp development in his game during his first two seasons in the junior ranks with Erie of the Ontario Hockey League. During his first season he appeared in 60 regular-season games and notched 10 goals and 29 assists for 39 points, but it was last season when he hit his stride while playing alongside teammate, friend and No. 1 draft pick Connor McDavid.
Strome played in 68 regular-season games and logged 45 goals and 84 assists for 129 points to lead his team in scoring. He then appeared in 20 postseason games, posting 10 goals and 12 assists and helped lead his team to the OHL finals where it lost to Oshawa in five games.
But despite only having two seasons of junior hockey under his belt, Strome says his main objective at Coyotes camp is to make the opening night roster.
“Obviously I want to be here. That’s the goal, that’s why I’m trying to make this team,” Strome said. “…It’s day-by-day, it’s getting better everyday and hopefully I can earn a spot on the team. That’s what I’m trying to do and I just have to prove myself here everyday and got to win a job over.”