One of the most exciting times of the summer is upon us as we are just two days away from the NHL Entry Draft which takes place beginning Friday June 24th at 6:00 P.M. Eastern time. The Florida Panthers will be drafting in the third position just as they did last season, and we here at the Rat Trick are going to break down some of the possibilities. However, there are very strong rumblings that General Manager Dale Tallon is pushing hard to work a deal for the top pick. These are rumors and nothing more at the moment, but makes you think he has his sites on a player and will do whatever he can to get him. I like that!
I’m up next with Ryan Strome. Born July 11th, 1993 in Mississuagua, Ontario, Ryan is another center who has been on the radar of many teams. Projected to go somewhere between 6th to9th, the Panthers most likely won’t be in position to draft him, unless dealer Dale somehow orchestrates a blockbuster deal and picks up another early pick in the draft.
Strome had a phenomenal year this season as he jumped from 27 points last season to 106 this season playing for the Niagra Ice Dogs. His point total was good enough for third in the OHL. It’s this significant point jump that has made him noticed, and move up the draft charts. Being a slender player with a weight of 175 lbs. to go with his 6′ 0″ height, the only knock on Strome at this time is strength. But let’s all remember, he’s barely 18 years old, and will have ample time to build up that strength. He’s been compared in some some circles to Tyler Seguin, only that Seguin appears to be stronger, and that will most likely cause Strome to returnto juniors for at least one more season.
Strome was voted the Most Improved Player and the Best Playmaker in the 2011 OHL Eastern Conference Coaches Poll. He also tied for the Best Stickhandler with Ryan Spooner, drafted 45th overall by Boston in 2010.
Strome seems to have all the tools and could be a surprise pick in the draft. He has exceptional stick handling ability as evidenced by this highlight goal. He appears to be strong on his skates, and isn’t afraid to work in the corners. He’s also shown the ability to drop the gloves when needed. Strome talks about how he learned to skate outdoors (taken from nhl.com)
“My dad and my grandpa, who lives around the corner from me, took me to a pond in the hydro fields behind my house and threw me on skates and pretty much just told me to go. And my dad’s always been supporting me all the way. I remember going to City Hall at four in the morning (with my dad), play with a stick and puck with him, and we’d get kicked off at 6 a.m., then I’d go to my other team’s practice.”
For a more in depth view of Ryan, click here to see his Central Scouting Report.
While he might not be ready for the NHL this season, he’s not very far off, and could actually surprise much like Jeff Skinner of Carolina did. Regardless of who gets him, the team will certainly have aquired a budding young star.
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