FT. LAUDERDALE, Fla. - Dylan Strome is just trying to keep cool before the NHL Draft.
Strome, projected to be taken third overall by the Arizona Coyotes, has had an Arnold Palmer before most of his games since he played midget hockey with the Toronto Marlboros. However, in the heat of Sunrise, Fla., where the 2015 NHL Draft is being held, he's being more practical.
"Maybe just a few waters to relax. I mean I'm going to be sweating like crazy," said Strome on Thursday. "Definitely got to stay hydrated, I mean, it's so hot out here you can barely even breathe. I'm not used to the weather.
"I'm just going to try and relax as much as possible."
Connor McDavid, Strome's teammate on the Ontario Hockey League's Erie Otters, and NCAA star Jack Eichel are pretty much locked in as the top two picks, with the Edmonton Oilers and Buffalo Sabres unlikely to move from the first and second draft positions.
That leaves the 18-year-old Strome as the potential third pick, although there's been much speculation that Arizona will trade its pick, making the six-foot-three centre's future team unknown.
"No one knows what's going to happen," said Strome. "I don't know what's going to happen. I don't know what's going to happen with Eichel, McDavid, myself, (Lawson) Crouse, (Mitch) Marner, (Noah) Hanifin, I don't know. But I guess that's what makes for an exciting day and hopefully a good future and a long career for everyone."
Strome will start the draft day with a breakfast reception then spend time with the large contingent of friends and family that have joined him for the draft. His entourage in Florida includes his parents and brothers, both sets of grandparents, his billet family from Erie, Pa., and his two best friends.
His entire day will be geared toward keeping calm and maybe a little distracted.
"Maybe I'll head to the beach and try to relax a little bit," said Strome. "Try to calm the nerves down, I guess. I don't really know what to expect. I haven't slept much the past couple of days."
The Coyotes at third overall and the Toronto Maple Leafs at No. 4 are the most likely destinations for Strome, but a trade or some other draft day surprise could see him wind up somewhere else.
Whichever team selects him will be getting a talented centre. Strome led the OHL with 129 points (45 goals, 84 assists), over 68 games. He and McDavid led the Otters to the OHL championship, where Erie eventually fell to the Oshawa Generals in five games.
Strome knows exactly what kind of team he wants to play for, though.
"The team that wants you there," he said. "Whatever team takes you, obviously, it's a big pick for them and they take their time and research. They're investing, potentially, up to $100 million in a person.
"I think it's about going to a team that's going to give you the best chance to play and win Stanley Cups."
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