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McDavid says Strome can be fantasy sleeper with Oilers

NHL scoring champion believes new teammate can benefit from trade

by Pete Jensen @NHLJensen / NHL.com Senior Fantasy Editor

Take some advice from the top-ranked fantasy player himself: Connor McDavid said Ryan Strome is a sleeper for the Edmonton Oilers.

McDavid identified Strome, a forward who was acquired in a trade from the New York Islanders for right wing Jordan Eberle on June 22, as the Oilers teammate he believes can emerge and exceed fantasy expectations. Strome was already on NHL.com's preseason sleeper list, but McDavid's vote makes him an even more appealing candidate.

"I think it could be [Strome], honestly," McDavid said in New York on Wednesday during the NHL Player Media Tour. "He's a guy that is going to come in and I think he's going to get a pretty good opportunity to play with some good players and maybe take a little bit of power-play time and help. I think he's going to do well with it."

McDavid, 20, tops NHL.com's fantasy rankings after leading the League in scoring with 100 points (30 goals, 70 assists). He played mostly between left wing Patrick Maroon and right wing Leon Draisaitl, but the trade for Strome could give the Oilers enough flexibility to move Draisaitl back to center, his natural position.

If that ends up being Edmonton's course of action, Strome (C/RW in Yahoo; average draft position: 167.7) could compete for top-six minutes alongside either McDavid or Draisaitl. Other sleeper candidates who could earn trials alongside McDavid this season include forwards Jesse Puljujarvi (RW) and Drake Caggiula (C/LW).

Video: Isles, Oilers swap Ryan Strome and Jordan Eberle

Strome, 24, had an NHL career-high 50 points (17 goals, 33 assists) and plus-23 rating in 81 games during the 2014-15 season but combined for 58 points in 140 games over the next two seasons. He scored 16 points (seven goals, nine assists) in 30 games after the Islanders replaced coach Jack Capuano with Doug Weight last season but missed New York's final 10 games after breaking his wrist March 22.

Strome has never scored more than eight power-play points in a single NHL season but could certainly benefit from a change in scenery and, of course, any exposure to McDavid or Draisaitl. Strome is in the final year of his contract and can become a restricted free agent July 1, 2018.

"[Strome] is a guy that has had success in the League," McDavid said. "He's a guy that thinks the game very well, skates pretty well. But I think any time I think of [Strome], I just go back to how well he thinks the game. I played with his younger brother (for Erie of the Ontario Hockey League), and they play kind of a similar style. Me and [Dylan Strome] got along very well on the ice."

McDavid also said he's eager to share ice time with left wing Jussi Jokinen, who signed a one-year contract with the Oilers on July 7. The 34-year-old is coming off a down season for the Florida Panthers (28 points in 69 games) but was fantasy relevant two seasons ago (60 points; finished 61st in Yahoo).

"[Jokinen] is a veteran guy that's played a lot of years and battles hard," McDavid said. "Just in talking with a few guys, I know he thinks the game real well and he's a good passer and all that. [Strome and Jokinen are] two guys I'm excited to play with."

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