Arizona Coyotes: Chayka Should Choose Christian Dvorak Over Dylan Strome

The Arizona Coyotes have room for one center on the roster. Will it be the much hyped #3 overall pick Dylan Strome, or will overlooked Memorial Cup champion Christian Dvorak edge him out?

The Arizona Coyotes have a difficult choice to make.

Fortunately for them, it’s the kind of choice you like to be faced with.

There is a groundswell of fan support and marketing pressure on General Manager John Chayka and Head Coach Dave Tippett to keep Dylan Strome on the Coyotes’ NHL roster for the 2016-17 season.

The reasons are many.

Let’s start with his draft slot, his undeniable skill, and the fact that another year of junior hockey doesn’t seem like it’ll do Strome much good in the way of development. After two straight 100-point seasons, it’s hard to believe he’ll be challenged much by another year in the OHL.

There’s also the small matter of him being unable to play in Tucson with the newly minted Roadrunners, which means that the Erie Otters are his only option not named Arizona Coyotes.

In short, Chayka must weigh potentially wasting a year of Strome’s development by returning him to juniors versus the prospect that he might not quite be physically ready for the rigors of an 82-game NHL season.

He does have other options, though, and chief among those names is Memorial Cup winning center Christian Dvorak.

The concerns about Strome’s skating and physical durability are non-issues when it comes to Dvorak. He already played like a pro for the London Knights, and it stands to reason that his game would easily translate into the National Hockey League immediately.

Like his counterpart, Dvo also notched two straight 100-plus point campaigns. He also led the London Knights and the entire Ontario Hockey League in goal-scoring, in case you were wondering.

The 20-year-old forward co-captained the London Knights along with much heralded winger Mitch Marner, and the pair accomplished a dream that quite a few big names had been unable to do in the green and black.

When development camp kicked off in early July, Dvorak was among the names that shined the brightest. Strome, meanwhile, was just an also ran.

If Coach Tippett and Chayka promoted one of these young men purely on merit, as of right now the nod would have to go to Christian Dvorak.

No one, barring Strome’s parents, wants to see him on the ice at Gila River Arena more than myself. Can you imagine him delivering those crisp, Nicklas Backstrom-esque passes to Domi, Duke, and company on the power play?

That doesn’t change the current score, however.

For the moment, Dvo is the more complete player whose current game translates the best to the next level. Dylan Strome has the higher ceiling, to be sure, but it will take more than promise to succeed on both ends of the ice at Gila River Arena.

It might cost the Arizona Coyotes a few ticket sales for one more season, and it could even potentially be a total waste of a year of Strome’s development, but for now Dvorak has earned that spot.

Ya know, though…they could always keep both and play Dvo at the wing.

I’m just sayin’.