With rumors and mystery shrouding their approach -- as usual -- at the 2011 NHL Entry Draft, the New York Islanders gave many observers a mild surprise by selecting late-rising Ryan Strome, the 6'1", 183 lb. right-shooting center from the Niagara Ice Dogs.
Strome was in the top 10 of just about every ranking, but his slot ranged from five to eight or so -- thus the "mild" surprise. Many figured on late-dropping two-way center Sean Couturier or late-rising two-way defenseman Dougie Hamilton. All of this "late-[move]ing" talk is exactly what made the fifth selection interesting after the first four picks in the draft went about as most expected.
If you know nothing about Strome, there's some scouting bits after the jump. We'll add more to this post as we add more information... Update 1: 8:40 EDT below. Update 2: 10:15 p.m. - various scouting reports and video
NHL Profile Video of Ryan Strome
The Hockey News (ranked him 6th) had this in their preview:
...Though he started off the year projected as a second-rounder, the creative and entertaining playmaker solidified himself as a top-10 talent in a breakout campaign that saw him finish third in league scoring.
"He competes hard on pucks," one scout said. "He's crafty. When he loses the puck, he works hard to get it back." ... Like several other great OHLers of late, such as John Tavares and Tyler Seguin, Strome played a lot of lacrosse in his youth.
The Scouting Report (ranked him 9th) tells it this way:
Strome was the talk of the prospect world by November and didn’t let up as the year progressed. He’s a highly skilled forward with some of the craftiest hands in the crop and the ability to create a scoring chance at any opportunity. His statistics will indicate that he’s more of a playmaker, but Strome is also a very adept goal scorer and has a pretty good release on his wrist/snap shot. His game doesn’t come without concerns, however, as Strome is very weak and easily muscled off the puck.
Here's TSN (ranked him 7th) with scout Gregg McCagg:
Strengths - Quick, elusive skater with top-notch agility and playmaking skills. Crafty, adept at finding time and space, soft hands, quick release, skilled in tight quarters. Worked hard in offseason to improve fitness, clutch scorer. Solid anticipation and smarts at both ends of the rink. Weaknesses - Not a physically intimidating player who will punish opponents, still needs to add some strength. Can be a little lackadaisical at times. Work ethic could improve. NHL Upside - Top-line offensive center with point-per game potential.
Notes from Strome's media scrums and NHL Radio appearance:
- He works out with John Tavares during the summer, knows Tavares and Matt Moulson well.
- Sees himself as an offensive player who can score goals and set his teammates up. Wants to be a leader and complete player (I know, don't they all).
- Wasn't surprised -- he had talked to the Isles a lot and had a feeling -- but had no idea. When they said "Niagara" he still didn't know if it was him or Dougie. ...
- No rest for the weary: The last 15 minutes were a blur ("I'll have to watch the tape to remember how I reacted") but he's ready to get right to it and resume working out after the weekend. Wants to do his best this summer to show his best at camp.
- Hasn't thought about a uni number -- it's all a blur -- but he has thought about the Islanders building a young, strong team and he's excited to be a part of that. Very excited to be on JT's team.
- Strome has lots of family here. One media member told him, "Your grandparents told me on the shuttle, 'Top 5 for sure.' Looks like they knew something!"
HNIC's Jeff Marek, who raved about Strome to Chris Botta last week, shares his instant reaction:
@JeffMarek: NYI selects Ryan Strome. Bravo Islanders, you just hit a home run.
More videos, this from his scrum after being selected (sorry about the orientation in the first video; amateurs, Dude):
You can also download audio of Strome from the Isles here.
Go here for our on-going draft open thread, but of course you can discuss the merits of Strome's selection in the comments of this post.