UNIONDALE, N.Y. -- With New York Islanders prospect camp in full swing, Ryan Strome
has no time to settle onto Long Island.
Less than a month after being selected by the Islanders with the fifth pick of the Entry Draft, Strome stepped on the ice Wednesday at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum for the first time.
"It was cool. It could be a big part of my future, and hopefully it is," Strome said after his first on-ice session.
Strome and the rest of the prospects at the Islanders' development camp not only are busy on the ice this week, but will take in all sorts of activities around Long Island. After physicals Tuesday, they went fishing on Long Island Sound. On Friday, they will trek to Citi Field and take in a Mets game against the Philadelphia Phillies.
Although there is some fun involved being at prospect camp, for Strome it is all about the hockey and showing what he can do on the ice.
"It's kind of back to work now," he said. "It was a pretty long day out on the water (Tuesday). Kind of get back to work and in the rink (Wednesday). This is what we're here for, and this is the most exciting part."
Strome's connection to the Islanders organization runs deeper than just being drafted by the team. Strome and Islanders center John Tavares
both hail from Mississauga, Ont., and have been workout partners since before this year's draft.
"He's a good role model, and a good guy to look up to," Strome said of the first pick of the 2009 draft. "He works out hard. He's such a professional and we all know how good he is so it's good to kind of learn from him."
Strome's draft stock skyrocketed following a stellar second season with the Niagara IceDogs of the Ontario Hockey League. He was third in the OHL with 106 points, a 79-point improvement over the previous season, which he split time between Niagara and the Barrie Colts.
Scouts took notice of Strome's improved play on the ice this past season. NHL Central Scouting ranked Strome No. 19 in its mid-term ranking of North American skaters, and bumped him to eighth in April's final rankings.
This camp is just the latest on what's been a busy summer for the 6-foot, 177-pound center.
Just before leaving for the draft, he finished his school exams, and since being drafted June 24, he has been preparing hard for camp.
"It's been a really busy schedule, that's for sure," Strome said, "but I'm trying to manage it the best I can and just get the most production I can out of my summer."
Author: Greg Picker | NHL.com Staff Writer