When NHL training camps open up in September, the New York Islanders are going to have a ton of guys fighting for roster spots for the upcoming season. Among those young guns going after roster spots is forward Ryan Strome, a young talent who the Islanders drafted fifth overall in 2011. Regardless of what happens this year in camp, it is well known that Strome won’t be heading back to juniors if he doesn’t make the club. It is felt by many that for Strome to make the club this year, a change in position from center to winger may be his best option.
A natural centerman, Strome put up some spectacular numbers his last year in juniors, to the tune of 34 goals and 60 assists in 53 games. Strome’s natural position was center when the Islanders drafted him, but they played him at right wing for the majority of his time in Bridgeport. Though he’s unsure what the future holds, Strome has told Islanders general manager Garth Snow and coach Jack Capuano he’s fine with either position.
Strome has decent size, at 6-foot-1 and 188 pounds, and has bulked up a little this summer to add to his game. It has become clear that Strome had no trouble adjusting to the pro game, as he produced two goals and five assists in ten games played in Bridgeport of the AHL last season. So from early indications, it seems Strome can hang at the pro level, and he can deliver points when counted upon.
When camps open, Strome has plenty of competition to go up against. At the position of center, Strome has to compete with the likes of John Tavares, Frans Nielsen, Josh Bailey, Pierre-Marc Bouchard, Brock Nelson, Andres Lee and Casey Cizikas. And that’s just at center. With wingers, the Islanders still have plenty of talent to go around.
Comparing the positions of wing and center on the Islanders, it seems like the best place for Strome to play and make the team would be on the wing. That’s not a knock on the current crop of Islanders wingers, as they have plenty of talent. All I’m saying is that Strome may have better luck, if you want to call it that, playing at wing instead of center. At least that’s how it looks at the moment.
One has to believe that should the Islanders decide to have Strome on the NHL roster, it would be as a top-six forward where he can maximize his potential. It looks at the moment like, going into camp, there will be an open slot on the top line at right wing for somebody to step in and play alongside Tavares and Matt Moulson. So there is a strong possibility, at the moment at least, for Strome to come in and make a big impact. Regardless of what happens at camp, Strome will be getting time as a top-six forward, whether it be with the Islanders or Bridgeport. Either way Strome will have a big impact on the Islanders in the somewhat near future.