After getting a disappointing season from their veterans' last campaign, the Islanders should finally look to their prospects for next fall. Ryan Strome's name is at the top of the list.
Islanders Steve Staios, Marty Reasoner, Milan Jurcina, Mark Eaton and Jay Pandolfo struggled mightily during the season.
In fact, the five players combined for only six goals—so it's high time the Isles went to their younger talent.
Strome has been busy proving himself in the OHL. He finished the season with 30 goals and 38 assists, which are some very good numbers.
Strome will be 19 when the season starts, so he will be old enough. Many players have started at an early age in the league and found success. John Tavares, Jonathan Toews, Patrick Marleau, Sidney Crosby, Joe Thornton and Evgeni Malkin are just a few.
Strome could play the first nine games with the team. If he does well, keep him. If not, send him to Bridgeport for more development. It's that simple.
The Isles could play Strome on a line with Tavares and Matt Moulson. The three are good friends, so it should make for great chemistry and could help Strome find a lot of success. He could also play as both a scorer and a playmaker with the immense talent Moulson and Tavares have.
Strome has also shown a Tavares-like work ethic. According to the Islanders official website, his Niagara Ice Dogs teammate and fellow Isles' prospect Mitchell Theoret said:
"When Ryan came back, he was more focused. You could see he had more of a pro mindset. The way he came to the rink every morning and did his workouts, it was very professional. For him, it was just all toward making the Islanders next season.”
So the work ethic is definitely there.
According to Theoret, Strome has expressed he will play the role whatever role he's needed to do, whether it's as a scorer or playmaker. He also mentioned he wants it to be a hard decision for the management to send him back down if that's what they were planning for him.
Strome has shown the work ethic and skill needed to be successful in the NHL. If he can translate that to points, he can really help the Islanders if he gets to remain with the big club next season.