Tracking the Storm

Draft Profile: Ryan Strome

Thursday, 06.23.2011 / 10:32 AM ET / Tracking the Storm
By Paul Branecky
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Draft Profile: Ryan Strome
On each weekday between now and the first round of the NHL Entry Draft on June 24, we'll be profiling one of 11 players who could be chosen with the 12th overall pick by Carolina. Today's subject is Niagara IceDogs center Ryan Strome. Previously: Sven Bartschi | Nathan Beaulieu | Jonas Brodin | Sean Couturier | Oscar Klefbom | Ryan Murphy | Jamieson Oleksiak | Mark Scheifele | Duncan Siemens | Also see: Hurricanes Draft History.

Based on his regular season, Ryan Strome would never fall to the draft’s 12th overall pick. His postseason may have opened that door.

Paul Branecky
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Strome, a center with Niagara of the Ontario Hockey League, finished third in league scoring with 106 points (33g, 73a) in 65 games – a total that tied him with potential first-overall pick Ryan Nugent-Hopkins for the lead among all Canadian Hockey League players in their initial year of draft eligibility. As his numbers would suggest, he’s more of a playmaker than a scorer, but he’s still capable of some spectacular goals (see video above).

Scouts love Strome’s vision and puck skills – attributes that have him well inside the top 10 in most rankings. While he needs to work on building up his 6-foot, 183-pound frame, his skating strength and his defense, most 17-year-olds do.

If he is available to Carolina, it will be due to a disappointing playoff performance.

“Having the type of production he had in the regular season opens your eyes, but the fall off in the playoffs is probably the only reason a player like Strome would get to 12,” said Jason Karmanos, the Hurricanes’ vice president and assistant general manager. “The top 15 is a very strong group and leaves the possibility for a lot of different things to happen on draft day.”

It should be noted that Strome’s overall postseason numbers aren’t bad. He scored 12 points in 14 games (6g, 6a), which, while behind his torrid regular-season pace, doesn’t suggest a total disaster. However, scouts are somewhat concerned that, in the OHL’s Eastern Conference Finals, he wasn’t able to impose his will in the same way that he did during the regular season.

“In the final series they were eliminated by Missasauga, which is probably the best defensive team in the CHL,” said Canes chief amateur scout Tony MacDonald of a five-game series that saw Strome record no goals and 2 assists. “They took a lot of his game away.”

While it may seem silly to sour on a player due to a mediocre final five games after an outstanding first 74, the postseason can be a real indicator of a player’s mental makeup. It certainly was for Jeff Skinner, whose 20-goals-in-20 games performance with Kitchener in his draft year said things about his character and performance under pressure that were later confirmed during the Hurricanes’ late-season push for the playoffs.

Then again, it could just be a way for a team to steal a player that otherwise would have no business falling into its lap.

“He’s a very smart player with great hands and great puck skills, and he’s obviously a highly-talented offensive player,” said Karmanos. “If Ryan Strome had the playoffs that Jeff Skinner had last year, there would be no doubt that he would be gone.”

“He’s more of a pass-first, playmaking guy who makes things happen,” said MacDonald. “Over the course of the season he found a way to get it done.”

Wherever Stome does get drafted, it will be much higher than anticipated at the start of the season. Although he’s always showed promise (he was a high pick in the OHL draft), his breakout campaign was a 79-point improvement from the 27 points he posted in 61 games as a young player on a stacked Barrie team in 2009-10. That won him the OHL’s Most Improved Player award this past season.


SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 p - NYR 82 53 22 7 252 192 113
2 y - MTL 82 50 22 10 221 189 110
3 x - TBL 82 50 24 8 262 211 108
4 x - WSH 82 45 26 11 242 203 101
5 x - NYI 82 47 28 7 252 230 101
6 x - DET 82 43 25 14 235 221 100
7 x - OTT 82 43 26 13 238 215 99
8 x - PIT 82 43 27 12 221 210 98
9 BOS 82 41 27 14 213 211 96
10 FLA 82 38 29 15 206 223 91
11 CBJ 82 42 35 5 236 250 89
12 PHI 82 33 31 18 215 234 84
13 NJD 82 32 36 14 181 216 78
14 CAR 82 30 41 11 188 226 71
15 TOR 82 30 44 8 211 262 68
16 BUF 82 23 51 8 161 274 54

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
E. Staal 77 23 31 -13 54
J. Faulk 82 15 34 -19 49
E. Lindholm 81 17 22 -23 39
V. Rask 80 11 22 -14 33
J. Skinner 77 18 13 -24 31
N. Gerbe 78 10 18 -14 28
R. Nash 68 8 17 -10 25
J. Staal 46 6 18 -6 24
J. Liles 57 2 20 -9 22
J. McClement 82 7 14 -7 21
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
C. Ward 22 24 5 .910 2.40
A. Khudobin 8 17 6 .900 2.72