With the deadline for roster cuts passing at 2 PM, the Arizona Coyotes made their decision on who will stay and who will go and Dylan Strome made the cut.
And that is a wonderful thing.
Coyotes fans have been dying to see what Strome can bring since he was drafted third overall in 2015, but his demotion to junior on the final day of camp last year left a lot of people disappointed.
Strome’s skating and defensive play needed more work, and the team felt he needed to add more weight to hold up against the rigors of an 82 game season. Above all, they didn’t want to rush him.
A year later Strome has improved in every way the Coyotes asked. His skating and defensive play are better, and he put on 10 pounds, bringing him up to a solid 195.
Associate coach Jim Playfair said a week ago that for a young player to make the team, they would have to show how they could help the team win.
Strome still has a lot of work to do to become the top center he and the Coyotes want him to be, but they clearly believe he is ready to make an impact at the NHL level.
Here’s a quick video about Strome and his cerebral approach to the game.
What Strome brings to the Coyotes is elite offensive talent. He lit up the OHL last year with 111 points in 56 games, and that level of skill is something you can’t teach.
With his offense already at a pro level, it’s time for him to learn on the job, so to speak.
There will be mistakes, and he could have offensive slumps.
That is okay.
Strome needs to focus primarily on acclimating to the NHL game and improving his defense and skating. If he does, the offense will come along with it.
Fortunately, Strome has an excellent hockey IQ; that should help smooth the transition.
And with a few more years of seasoning, there is every reason to believe that Strome will develop into the top center the Arizona Coyotes need him to be.
This is just the beginning.