The Case for Drafting Dylan Strome

Dylan Strome appears to be the guy that most Leafs fans want to draft this summer. As I wrote this article, the little poll that sits to the right of of this site told me that 58% of TLN readers preferred Strome to Mitch Marner or Noah Nanifin, which is not an insignificant amount of you.

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What makes Strome really interesting is that, much like Hanifin, there’s no telling if he’ll even be available by the time Toronto’s fourth overall pick comes up. It’s widely believed that Arizona, the owner of the third overall pick, will likely take one of the two, with the Leafs most likely choosing between whoever’s left over and Marner.

If Arizona does take Hanifin (or Marner, I guess), here’s three very good reasons why the Leafs should be interested in nabbing Strome.

More past the jump…

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Big Centres Are Incredibly Uncommon

They’re like freakin’ unicorns, man. Since the NHL Entry Draft was created in 1963, only 26 centres standing 6’3 or taller have been drafted in the top ten picks. Admittedly, is missing some height/weight data from the earliest of drafts, but that still makes Dylan Strome a pretty rare specimen.

Now, that’s not to say that every one of these big pivots has worked out for the teams that drafted them. Guys like Mario Lemieux, Mike Modano, Mats Sundin, Eric Lindros, Joe Thornton and Vincent Lecavalier certainly did. Others like Alexander Svitov, Mikhail Yakubov and Jason Bonsignore… not so much. There’s been a couple more big centres that have been drafted recently, like Florida’s Aleksander Barkov and Philadelphia’s Sean Couturier – I wouldn’t say either of them have been a disappointment so far.

Point is, successful teams normally have a stud, top-line centre. Some of them also happen to be big dudes, and that certainly doesn’t hurt. In almost all cases, they were drafted and developed by one team; rarely are these types of players traded.

If the Leafs want to land a number one centre, they’re probably going to have to draft their own. Strome is certainly their best opportunity to do so in the short term.

Strome Lead His Draft Class in Scoring

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I’m not talking OHL. I’m not talking CHL. I’m talking literally everyone. Strome’s 129 points in 68 games this season for Erie as A) insane and B) the highest point total out of everyone in the 2015 draft class.

(And no, I’m not including Connor Garland – the 19-year old in Moncton who also put up 129 points this season. You don’t get to count if you’ve been passed over multiple times in the draft.)

The next closest was Mitch Marner with 123 points, followed by Connor McDavid with 120 points (albeit in 21 less games). I’m well aware that Strome may very well not have held the title of top scorer in his class if others had played a full season in good health, but that doesn’t make the feat any less impressive. 

A lot of folks talk about how Marner is the more offensively gifted one, but let’s not sneeze at Strome’s work in the opposition’s zone. There’s certainly a perception out there in the prospect world that ‘big’ players get by on alone and it’s the smaller players who are truly the most gifted and skilled, when in reality it’s simply most important to look at an individual’s strengths and weaknesses without defining them in generalities. Let’s also remember that when it comes to size, Strome is big by NHL standards, not just OHL standards.

Future Considerations certainly doesn’t seem to think Strome’s offensive game is lacking…

Elite offensive forward…a big forward who moves well, and demonstrated some very good power and speed…is tough to contain as he used his speed, strength and creativity to beat defenders…has great vision with the puck and sees the ice very well…uses his crafty hands to dance around defenders and get into positions where he could shoot or set-up teammates…distributes the puck well and is able to create a lot of chances…has a lethal wrist-shot with great power and a pretty good release…uses his size and reach on the boards to win the puck and get in good supporting areas to pick up loose pucks…defensive effort goes up and down.

The Strome Family is a Leafs Family

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Dylan, born just outside of Toronto in Mississauga, Ontario, grew up a fan of the Toronto Maple Leafs. He’s a hometown kid and fan of his hometown team – that’s cute. 

But Dylan isn’t an only child. In fact, his older brother Ryan is also a Leafs fan, and he’s also a very talented hockey player who was drafted fifth overall by the New York Islanders in 2011. Ryan just finished his first full season in the NHL and put up a respectable 50 points. 

If Ryan needed any more incentive to jump ship the first chance he got and play for his favourite team growing up, having his younger brother Dylan to play alongside wouldn’t hurt.

Just sayin’.

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Previously in the Making A Case series…

Mitch Marner

Noah Hanifin

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  • FlareKnight

    In the end there aren’t many picks (outside of he who shall not be named) that I’d be upset about the Leafs taking. So many good options will be guaranteed to be there at 4th overall.

    Strome has some great skills that would be great to add. No matter how you cut it, he gathered a ton of points and is a skilled guy. Wouldn’t be a bad thing at all to have that kind of talent in the center spot and finally get that #1 center position taken care of.

    And of course the non-important, but cool factor would be drafting someone who is actually a Leafs fan. Just that nice little bonus.

    I don’t know who we’re taking or who is the absolute right choice, but we’ve at least got a lot of good ones for the Leafs to pick from.

  • Poluza

    Arizona will take him. He’ll be as sad as McDavid will be when he gets drafted by Edmonton. Dubas probably wants Marner anyway. We’ll have a bunch of tiny wingers with good Corsi and never get that no. one centre.

  • STAN

    Bookmark THIS.

    Phil Kessel will be the starting right-wing for the Arizona Coyotes in October.

    Said it before, will say it once more – Glendale needs a a star sniper far more than the Leafs. The Coyotes are in desperate need of someone who can help fill seats (even IF they can be had for $10).

    That’s why I see Shanahunter™ scooping the third draft slot to add to the fourth while Kessel makes his way to a hockey environment that suits his introvert personality.

    Send them Kessel, the Nashville pick in return for that third pick and a good top prospect.

    We’ll see if new Leaf management has a good read on who is in the Coyotes system and who could help the Leafs in a year oir two.

    • STAN

      while i would absolutely want the leafs to do that there is no way arizona would go for it. Now if we talk about teams like florida, nashville, the islanders, columbus. then that makes sense, but there is no way ariona trades for him.

  • STAN

    Shouldnt we be talking about the edmonton oilers? Seems to me thats all you have to talk about these days. Heard we will probably be getting babcock soon too. Mcdavids going to be our first pick and toronto cant afford him so have fun getting the next 4 first over all draft picks in the next 4 yrs. Toronto is no longer the centre of the universe. Alberta is- just ask all the easterners who now call this place home. btw we will be sending you your welfare cheque as soon as the oil spikes again….cheers

    • STAN

      Yeah let’s talk about the Edmonton Oilers A LITTLE BIT MORE because no one EVER talks about them or their “five potential league MVPs” or their miraculous ability to finish last and acquire first overall picks. Seeing as the Toronto area has way more people, fans, etc. and the Leafs are the much richer franchise/far under the cap, saying we can’t afford him really makes no sense? I can’t wait to see how Edmonton tries to juggle their players coming off entry level contracts while somehow staying under the cap. And the Oilers shelling out 4 mill+ plus for Babcock? What fairy tale are you living in? They can barely sell tickets and attract players as it is, there’s no way an accredited head coach will decide to go to the Oilers and even if he did they wouldn’t be able to pay. The Leafs, etc. have been rumoured to Babcock too but it’s all to sell papers, he’ll get his raise and he’ll get it from a team ready to win. Toronto will not get the next four 1st overall picks because no one could ever be as bad as recent Edmonton. It’s clear that you just wish for this to happen so that everyone will forget your precious Edmonton’s fall to 1st overall 4 times but sorry pal, Edmonton in the last five years is as far as any team could fall ever. They blew it in the cup finals in ’06 and never recovered, build a bridge and get over it. They will be good but to think that McDavid, Babcock, etc. is gonna do that by next season is extremely juvenile. Are you just expecting an NHL calibre goalie to show up at Rexall unannounced? Is Duncan Keith gonna wake up tomorrow and demand a trade to to Oilers? No. Wake up. Of course everyone in ALBERTA thinks that the West is the centre of the universe but sorry buddy, you still can’t drive tractors in downtown Toronto yet. Toronto has legitimate businesses to sustain its economy and doesn’t rely on the off-chance that more oil is hiding in the ground. Going out west is a good vacation, but for the big city folk of the GTA it’s far from a potential lifestyle. So how’s that? Did I talk about Edmonton enough yet?!