St. Paul, MN -
There isn’t much more to be said about the kind of hockey player that Ryan Strome
is than what Islanders General Manager Garth Snow said after making the Mississauga, ON native the fifth overall pick in the 2011 NHL Entry Draft Friday night.
“He’s a very gifted hockey player,. He sees the ice extremely well. He’s a high character kid and we feel he’s going to fit in very well.”
But Snow did say more.
“He’s a self motivated kid, who is offensively dynamic. He makes the players around him better.”
Add to that Strome’s penchant for getting into the dirty areas to put pucks in the net and there you have the newest member of the Islanders.
It’s these qualities that Snow touted, which led him to be voted the Most Improved Player and Best Playmaker this season in a poll of coaches in the OHL's Eastern Conference.
Strome finished last season with 106 points (33 goals, 63 assists) for the Niagara IceDogs, good for third in the Ontario Hockey League. He average 1.63 points per game.
“Since I was traded there (Niagara) last January, I've gotten consistently better each day,” Strome said. “I can't thank them enough, the coaching staff, Marty Williamson, Mike Van Ryn, Billy Burke, and the owners are second to none.”
What else has helped the 17-year-old center get to this level? Working out with Islanders stars John Tavares
and Matt Moulson
The two players called their new teammate from the draft party on Long Island.
While what was said on the other end of the line could not be heard by the public, Strome told Moulson “I’m ecstatic. Wow.”
Strome appears to fit the mold of other recent Islanders draft picks like Tavares, Nino Niederreiter
, Josh Bailey
, Kyle Okposo
, Tavis Hamonic; a smart, hard working, solid character type that is looking to be a part of the Islanders now established core of young skilled players.
He also said that he knew that the Islanders were interested in him.
"They did a psychological test,'' he said. "They came to Niagara, and I met with them (again) at the combine and went down to New York. I knew the interest was there and I knew where they were selecting so it was a very good possibility. Things worked out.”
Is there anybody Ryan Strome doesn’t know? - Don La Greca
It’s quite a whirlwind that a first round draft pick goes through from the moment his name is announced. But the genuinely happy and excited Strome was well aware of his surroundings, walking the halls of the Xcel Center greeting all the draftees with fist bumps and congratulations. Don La Greca even called after Strome, “Is there anybody Ryan Strome
When Strome and fellow Ice Dog Dougie Hamilton (Selected by Boston with the ninth pick) met waiting to shoot with NHL Images for their first trading cards, the two players were beaming. “You’re gonna be on the blue line with Chara,” Strome said. To that Hamilton chuckled and congratulated his friend and teammate in return.
Strome is ready for what’s next. He plans on making a splash at rookie camp and working to make the NHL.
He told Versus after being selected: "I love the colors and I think I'll fit in great there,'' Strome said. "I couldn't be happier right now.”
And for good measure, as a real Long Islander, he added, “Vote yes on August 1st.”