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Cerebral, versatile Strome excited to join Oilers

Newly acquired forward Ryan Strome is excited to join Oilers club

by Chris Wescott / Head Writer

CHICAGO, IL - Ryan Strome could almost sense a move might come.

"Over the last couple of weeks just seeing the rumours and seeing how that team was shaping up over there, I kind of just looked at the numbers and you have to move someone out to get someone," said Strome. "Not that you can totally predict what will happen, but I had a weird feeling the last couple of days with my family."

Video: 1-ON-1 | Ryan Strome with Tom Gazzola

Then, on a flight to the NHL Draft in Chicago, where his younger brother Matthew hopes to be selected early this weekend, Strome got confirmation on that weird feeling.

The Edmonton Oilers had acquired the New York Islanders forward, in exchange for Jordan Eberle.

Strome has been an Islander since being selected fifth overall in 2011. The 23-year-old centre/winger has scored 45 goals and recorded 81 points in 258 regular season games, and three goals and five assists in 15 playoff games.

But after some ups and downs in his very young career, a fresh start is welcome.

"I think as a young guy you think the road is going to be easy but then you hit these challenges," said Strome. "I think I'm a guy who has always faced them in my career no matter where it's been."

Now, he'll face them in Edmonton, but he won't do it alone. Strome has a friend in Oilers Captain Connor McDavid, who played with Strome's younger brother Dylan with the Erie Otters.

"He reached out to me already, he's a great kid," said Strome. "I know him and if he's not the best player in the League he's right up there. It will be cool, and a good connection there. It's always nice knowing a couple of familiar faces."

In addition to having a friendly face around, Strome is also headed to an organization that believes in the upside and characteristics that made him a top pick.

"He's a skilled, cerebral player," said Oilers President of Hockey Operations and General Manager Peter Chiarelli. "He's 23 years old, he's going to continue to get stronger, he's got a good frame. He had a little bit of a dip last year… but we like the sense, we like the shot, we like the way he thinks the game. So that didn't really change."

Strome had a 30-point season last year with the Islanders, playing 69 games. Prior to 2016-17, Strome split time between the AHL and NHL. In addition to changing up his summer training and making gains in the gym, Strome says the key to growing as a player is to stay the course and keep grinding.

Video: 1-ON-1 | Peter Chiarelli with Tom Gazzola

"Doing the things every young guy has to do like staying the course, especially when things go up and down a little bit you've got to stay the course, continue to work hard and you can't take a day for granted," Strome said. "That's what I've learned, that's what I'm doing and I can't wait."

Of course, it's also a benefit for a young forward to continue their growth when they get the chance to play with two of the best young centres in the League in McDavid and Draisaitl.

"I remember sitting in my basement a couple of months ago watching the playoffs and it was like, 'holy, these guys are good players.'"

Strome says his history of playing with John Tavares with the Islanders helps him coming into a new situation with highly skilled players.

"With Connor and Leon, the way they distribute the puck and how they can skate and their skill is just exceptional," said Strome. "Obviously, lots of opportunity. Whatever happens, I'm just looking to come in and do my best and add to what's going on there because there are a lot of good things."

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