Sunday, July 2, 2017

Ryan Strome: Two Autographed Cards

As I mentioned a couple of days ago, the Edmonton Oilers sent Jordan Eberle to the New York Islanders for former first-round pick (5th overall in 2011) Ryan Strome last week, mostly as a salary cap move to free up space for Connor McDavid's upcoming contract, but also because Eberle was disappointing during the 2016-17 playoffs.

But was this a move backwards in terms of it being a "hockey trade"? Yes and no. Strome may never live up to being a fifth-overall pick - and he's technically the second "failed Islanders prospect" Oilers GM Peter Chiarelli has taken off Isles' GM Garth Snow's hands, after Griffin Reinhart last summer, who will now continue his career as a member of the Vegas Golden Knights - but Strome might be able to jump in and fit in right away in Edmonton, as his ability to play either center or wing should give him reps alongside both McDavid and Leon Draisaitl, in addition to occasionally spending time with another decent player in Ryan Nugent-Hopkins.

A pretty-much guaranteed top-six role means he will be able to aim at a 50-70-point season like he achieved in 2014-15 (17 goals, 33 assists, 50 points on the nose) because he'll have a John Tavares-esque player next to him regardless of how he slots in the lineup, which should get him back into the  2013-14 AHL groove, when he posted 49 points in 37 games with the Bridgeport Sound Tigers and at one point even led the league in scoring (a call-up to the Isles "cost him" a scoring title, but that's one move most players would make).

And we're talking about a guy who has posted 106- and 94-point seasons in Juniors with the OHL's Niagara IceDogs and won the bronze medal suiting up for Team Canada at the 2012 World Juniors, posting 9 points in 6 games.

Speaking of which, here is a close-up of the IceDogs' black (away) uniform, on card #169 from In The Game's 2010-11 Heroes And Prospects set:
And here's a sideways and more global view of the uniform, on card #34 from ITG's 2011-12 Heroes And Prospects set:
He signed both cards in black sharpie in January 2015, while the Islanders were in town to face the Montréal Canadiens. I have to say that I already found him to be NHL-ready when I saw him stand at 6'1" and 190 pounds, and he's since added ten pounds of muscle to his frame that should give him an entirely new dimension in the Western Conference.

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