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BLOG: McLellan prefers Strome at centre

Forward skated on the third line between Jussi Jokinen and Anton Slepyshev Thursday at practice

by Paul Gazzola /

EDMONTON, AB - Utility forward Ryan Strome is still being tested between the centre and right wing position this season.

But Oilers Head Coach Todd McLellan says he's preferred the off-season acquisition's game best when he's a pivot.

"I think he's been most productive at the centre ice position," McLellan said Thursday after Oilers practice. "He's got some creativity and he had the puck more in those situations."

Although pointless through three games, Strome owns a 48.4 percentage in the dot. He's taken 31 faceoffs, winning 15 and losing 16. The 24-year-old has taken the bulk of his draws at even strength, winning puck possession in 14 of the 28 even-strength draws he's taken. 

Strome continues finding his stride with his new club and McLellan believes the forward's comfort level is becoming more apparent.

"I think he's getting better on a daily basis," said McLellan. "In practice, he looks more comfortable. He understands the drills and the language that we're using. It takes differently individuals a different amount of time."

Strome has registered five shots on goal and is minus-one.

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