In a new segment, I'll take a look at the players who could fall to the Islanders at fifth overall in the upcoming draft. So, without further ado, here's Part I:
Ryan Strome, Niagara Ice Dogs
It was nearly two years ago when the Islanders GM Garth Snow selected some Mississauga kid by the name of John Tavares. Should New York pick Strome, half of the town's population might just become Isles fans.
He's a talented player, there's no question about it, but Strome doesn't have an NHL-caliber frame just yet, and, of course, he'll need to make the transition to the pro game, which will take some time.
Strome has a great set of hands, not to mention smart offensive instincts. He's a crafty playmaker, as he has shown all season long with the Niagara Ice Dogs of the OHL.
What alerts me, is how Strome rocketed from 13 points (albeit in 27 games) last season, to a whopping 106 in 2010-2011.
Had he played a full 65 contests last year, he was still on pace for only 25-30 points.
His rise to the top could be the beginning of an upward trend, or, it could mean he's just a one-hit wonder. I don't think that will be the case, but I don't know that you could project Strome to score 75-100 points in his NHL prime either.
To me, Ryan Strome is a hit-or-miss draft choice. He could become an excellent No. 2 center, but he also could get buried in the AHL for the majority of his career.
If the Islanders pick him, it tells me two things:
First, that they see him as a character guy, the type they always look for, and second, that they have their doubts about whether or not Josh Bailey can become the player the Isles projected him to be.
Why do I think that?
Let's assume they take Ryan Strome. A few years down the road, after some OHL/AHL seasoning, if he successfully challenges for a roster spot, are the Islanders really going to use Bailey as a fourth line center?
That's certainly not what they expected from him, and it's not what he will be, should this scenario play out.
I think there's certainly a chance that Garth Snow picks Strome, and I would understand why he would do that.
While I don't believe that he's the type of player the Isles need right now, he'd certainly be an excellent addition to this team's burgeoning blue-chip prospect pool.
Stay posted for Part II, coming up later this weekend.
Comments are welcome.