Ryan Strome in the 2011 Home Hardware CHL/NHL Prospects game on January 19, 2011. (Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images)
Date of Birth: July 11, 1993
Place of Birth: Mississauga, Ontario
Ht: 6-1 Wt: 183
Strome, playing for the Niagara Ice Dogs of the OHL, was an assist machine this season. He notched 73 helpers in just 65 games while scoring 33 goals of his own, and it's because of that ability that Central Scouting has him ranked eighth overall heading into the draft. Strome's strengths are his skating and speed, his puck handling, his vision, and his willingness to head into the "dirty areas" to get to pucks. He lead Niagara to its best win and point totals ever, and his performance this year moved him up from the late-teens to the top ten in Central Scouting's rankings over the season. In his own words (see below), he worked on becoming a better two-way player this year while also trying to improve his own goal-scoring, but one thing he's always had is the ability to make his linemates better each and every shift. Strome will need to put on some size to compete with top-shelf NHL centermen and defensemen, but his willingness to initiate contact combined with his skating, vision, and puck handling should allow him to grow into the NHL.
20010/2011 Regular Season Stats:
Scouting Report (NHL.com):
"He skates very well and has very good speed. He's a creative playmaker who sees the ice very well. He goes to the net and battles in front. He is able to get to rebounds and loose pucks in front. He has good hands and has scored some goals off tip-ins in front."
Why he'd be a good fit in Columbus:
Let's see... playmaking centerman who can set up his linemates and isn't afraid to get dirty in front of the net. If that's not something the Jackets need in spades, I don't know what is. Right now, Strome would probably need some AHL seasoning, though he--much like the predicament Ryan Johansen currently faces--will be too young to play in the AHL until the 2013-2014 season (the loophole, I believe, is that Strome will be playing in his fourth straight CHL season in 2011-2012, thus making him eligible to play in the AHL in 2012-2013; I'm not 100% sure on that, though). That said, while Strome probably wouldn't fill a top-line center need for Columbus (and with The Johan, he wouldn't have to), he certainly could be that "tweener" 2nd/3rd line centerman that can work with his linemates to produce points but also is physical enough and willing enough to play that 3rd line centerman's role--think: Matt Calvert as a center. In time, Strome could develop behind Johansen into a solid 2nd scoring line center. In the short term, while Columbus has a solid checking center in Samuel Pahlsson, it never hurts to add the dimension of offense to that position, and that's where I would see Strome's first impact in Columbus. Longer term, Strome compares to Derick Brassard, both in size (Brass is 6'1, ~190#) and numbers-potential (Brass went for 44/72 in 58 games in his draft season in the QMJHL). The biggest difference between the two players at this stage seems to be Strome's willingness to be physical.
Ryan Strome, in his own words:
Ryan Strome Highlights: