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Strome says 'it's definitely exciting' to be with Oilers

Visits Edmonton after offseason trade from Islanders

by Derek Van Diest / Correspondent

EDMONTON -- Christmas came early for Edmonton Oilers forward Ryan Strome. 

"I feel like a little bit of a kid again, getting my new gear at Christmas," the 24-year-old said Friday visiting here for the first time since he was traded by the New York Islanders on June 22.

"Going to the rink with my new Oilers gear, I thought it was pretty awesome. Little things like that get you excited, and coming to a team that I think is so close to winning is very exciting as well."

Strome, the No. 5 pick of the 2011 NHL Draft, was traded for forward Jordan Eberle, who was the No. 22 pick in the 2008 NHL Draft. Strome said he expects to play center and right wing, based on a conversation he had with Oilers coach Todd McLellan after the trade.

"I think one of the main things I talked to Todd about was the versatility," Strome said. "I remember watching the [Stanley Cup] Playoffs and the guys were switching non-stop here. The guys were playing center, the guys were playing the wing. I think that's good, it gets guys going, it gets guys involved in the game, and if you're feeling it, you get to get out there more. I know his teams [with the San Jose Sharks] did the same thing, so it's definitely exciting, and there won't be any lack of opportunity just with such a great team and the way they play."

Strome, who had 30 points (13 goals, 17 assists) in 69 games for the Islanders last season, said he does not have individual offensive targets in mind.

Video: BUF@NYI: Strome cleans up his own rebound and scores

"I've always been a winner growing up, I've always been on winning teams, and I think that's what defines great players, and that's what I'm looking to do," Strome said. "I don't think you want to change too much about yourself or put extra pressure on yourself. I want to win, that's what it's all about, and it makes everyone happy, and I think I'm going to get an opportunity to do that here."

Strome said he is looking forward to playing with NHL Hart Trophy winner Connor McDavid, who led the NHL with 100 points (30 goals, 70 assists) last season. Strome's younger brother Dylan Strome, an Arizona Coyotes prospect, was a junior teammate of McDavid with Erie of the Ontario Hockey League.

"I watched hundreds of Erie Otter games over the years, so I had a pretty good scouting report on them, and definitely it's funny how things work," Strome said. "I think for me, the biggest thing is just coming in to play my game. I'm going to be surrounded by great players and great talent and I'm looking forward to contribute with what I can do."

Strome took a tour of Rogers Place before making a stop at the Oilers hockey school. Edmonton moved into the arena last season and then qualified for the playoffs for the first time since 2006.

"I literally got off the plane and went to the rink," he said. "It was a good morning. It made me speechless, honestly. I felt like it's not even real life to be looking around to see how nice the facility is. I've never seen anything like that, that's for sure. It's a privilege, and we're spoiled to get to play in the NHL, but that takes it to a new level, so it's was pretty cool."

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