The New York Islanders haven’t made too many changes to a team that surprised us all in reaching the Stanley Cup Playoffs last season, but they didn’t really need to. A few tweaks, yes, but this is a team with a strong young core and plenty of talent coming up through the pipeline.
One player that has been coming up through the pipeline for the last couple of years, and could be ready to make an impact in 2013-14 for the Isles is that of forward Ryan Strome. Despite his position as a center, and the fact that the Islanders aren’t necessarily in need of a center, he’s a kid that could make a big impact for the club next year.
Strome had another fine season for the Niagara IceDogs last season. He posted 94 points in 56 games, including 60 assists. Over the course of his IceDogs career, he appeared in 191 games, finishing with 281 points, 181 of them being assists. He finished with nearly an assist per game with Niagara. He got a cup of coffee up with Bridgeport in the AHL last year and notched seven points in 10 games.
Strome’s skill set is highlighted by his ability to handle the puck. He’s a wizard with the puck on his stick, sporting some fantastic hands. Combine that with his excellent vision, and you have a potentially superb playmaker, in addition to a guy that can put the puck in the back of the net.
You’d love to have a guy like that in the middle, but if Strome is going to have an opportunity to succeed for the Isles next year, it’ll likely be out on the wing. Perhaps you throw him out there on a wing next to John Tavares, with Brad Boyes having departed this summer. That could be a good situation for both of them, as Strome learns from one of the game’s best, while Tavares gets that playmaker to his right.
We’ll see if Strome made enough of an impression during prospect camp, and has a good enough training camp, to earn an opportunity with the Islanders this year. There’s not much more for him to prove at the lower levels, he should see an opportunity to ply his trade with the Isles in 2013-14.