Dylan Strome is one of five rookies who made the 2016-17 Arizona Coyotes roster, joining D Jakob Chychrun, F Christian Dvorak, F Laurent Dauphin and F Lawson Crouse. Strome, the third overall pick in 2015, is expected to one day fill the longstanding vacancy the Coyotes have had for an elite, #1 center. But after being announced as a scratch for tonight’s season-opener, questions are already being raised as to whether Strome is or even will be that guy, as Craig Morgan of Today’s Slapshot writes.
Of course it’s just one game in what likely promises to be a long career for Strome, but it has to be somewhat disconcerting a highly-regarded rookie is already sitting in the press box this early on. To his credit, Strome is looking at the bright side of the situation:
“It’s obviously a little disappointing but you’ve got to look at the positives. I’m here in the NHL, living my dream at 19. Not a lot of people get this opportunity so I’m just going to wait for my chance and just run with it when I get it.”
For his part, head coach Dave Tippett “promised” Strome would get an opportunity and as Morgan notes, the coach even implied the 19-year-old rookie could rotate in and out with Dvorak in a platoon scenario. It seems odd that the Coyotes would subject two of their top prospects to this type of arrangement considering they have other options. Dvorak could have been sent to Tucson of the AHL to gain more professional experience. Strome is eligible to be returned to Erie of the OHL for a final season of junior but according to Morgan the Coyotes would prefer to introduce the youngster to their system and have him work with their staff to further his development. After netting 240 points in his last 124 OHL games, it would seem apparent that another year of junior wouldn’t do Strome much good.
This situation probably will qualify as nothing more than a blip on the radar in the career of Strome. But it has to register as somewhat surprising that he will have to wait a little longer before making his NHL debut.