officially agreed to terms on his first entry-level deal shortly before 5 p.m. Tuesday. This news comes just two days after Strome, the fifth overall selection in the 2011 NHL Entry Draft, made it past the first round of assignments at Islanders Training Camp on Sunday.
“I couldn’t be happier to have had the opportunity and privilege to sign my first contract with the New York Islanders,” Strome said just a few minutes after signing his entry-level contract. “I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else. I’m very thankful.”
Since the draft in June, the Mississauga, ON native has hardly taken any time off. He attended Canada’s World Junior Evaluation Camp, Islanders Rookie Camp and now Islanders Training Camp.
|Ryan Strome skates against the New Jersey Devils at the Prudential Center on September 30, 2011 in Newark, New Jersey. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) |
“After signing my contract, I had a few minutes when I was walking back to the hotel from the Coliseum to go over what’s happened over the last few months and the last year,” Strome said. “It’s been unbelievable. Things have happened so fast. To see where I am now, I’m pretty thankful. I have a lot of people to thank. I have a lot to be happy for.”
Signing his contract is right up there with one of the best days he’s ever had.
“I thought getting drafted was one of the best feelings ever and this is right up there,” Strome said. “I couldn’t be happier to be with the Islanders. There is such a bright future here and I’m excited with the trust they’ve given to me. I’m not going to let them down.”
With just a few hours before each team’s 23-man roster has to be set, Strome still doesn’t know if he’ll be donning the blue and orange on Saturday against Florida, but he appreciates the opportunity Islanders management and the coaching staff has given him.
“I’ve honestly learned so much in the last two weeks,” Strome said. “I’ve become such a better player. Speaking with people in the organization, with the Islanders players and the coaches, everything now is just added on bonus. I’m just soaking everything in. From where I’ve come from, to where I am now, I’m very pleased. I’m excited to see where things go.”
Last season, he finished third in Ontario Hockey League scoring last season with 106 points (33 goals, 73 assists) in 65 games and was voted the Most Improved Player and Best Playmaker in the OHL Eastern Conference Coaches Poll.
Ultimately, he’d love the opportunity to dress in his first NHL game.
“Being here on Opening Night would be fantastic, but I have to take things day-by-day,” Strome said. “I’m just looking forward to getting back on the ice.”