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win their fifth game in their past seven contests
#1
“Whatever happened to Dylan Strome?”

It’s a question that has been posed by national media pundits and social media opiners since the Arizona Coyotes sent the former No. 3 overall draft pick in 2015 down to their AHL affiliate in Tucson on Oct. 9.

But now Strome is back in the Antti Raanta Jersey  NHL and ready to prove that he belongs with the Coyotes, having been recalled by the team on Sunday.

“Obviously I was very happy,” Strome said of the promotion. “I was working towards being called up. You want to be up here and contributing to the team that drafted you. So I’m just trying to contribute and be a guy that can help this team win some games.”

Although he is just 20 years old, Strome’s brief professional career has been filled with criticism of his playing ability. A big reason is that Strome was teammates with Connor McDavid during the year they were drafted with McDavid being the top overall choice in 2015. That year with the OHL’s Erie Otters, Strome posted 129 points in 68 games. McDavid accrued 120 in just 47 games.

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Also a 20 year old forward, McDavid is the captain of the Edmonton Oilers and the reigning Hart Trophy winner, which is awarded to the league’s most valuable player. He has 178 points in 151 career NHL games.

At the start of 2015, when McDavid went straight to Edmonton, Strome stayed put in Erie to refine his game. Even without McDavid on his wing, Strome still notched 111 points in 12 fewer games.

Strome played seven games with the Coyotes at the beginning of last season https://www.azcoyotesfans.com/customize-...-c-26.html, notching one assist to go along with a minus 5 rating. He then returned to the Otters, scoring 34 points in 22 playoff games to lead Erie to an OHL championship. He made the Coyotes’ opening roster this season but was sent down after two games without cracking the scoresheet.



But while Strome was picking up hardware in juniors and getting a cup of coffee with the Coyotes, McDavid was well on his way to becoming the face of the league as one of the most productive players in the NHL. For many, Strome had been forgotten.

Even now, Strome can’t escape the comparisons to his former OHL linemate — whom he’ll play against on Tuesday in Edmonton. Drafted just two spots apart, it will be just Strome’s 10th game compared to McDavid’s 152nd in the NHL.

But now, Strome is out to prove that his time is now in the NHL and with the Coyotes. That journey begins on Tuesday against the Oilers — and continues one game at a time.

“Just win some games, come up here and get two points every night,” Strome said of his objectives this time around. “I think I’ve just got to contribute and find a way to not be a liability defensively, but obviously make plays. I think you’ve got to find a way to be consistent every night and if you do that then you’re going to be successful. You’ve got to find a way to create offense and do something to stand out and help your team win.”

‘Numbers only mean so much’

Like he did as an amateur in Erie, Strome has been tallying points at a prolific rate with the Tucson Roadrunners this season. Entering play Monday, his 1.73 points per game average was tops among all skaters in the AHL.

Strome is a playmaking machine, and his offensive creativity has always been the hallmark of his game. At every level https://www.azcoyotesfans.com/blank-jersey-c-27.html, the 20 year old has lit up the scoreboard. Well, every level but the NHL.

“Numbers only mean so much if you don’t do it in the NHL,” Strome said. “You’ve got to find a way to produce, got to find a way to put up numbers. Create chances, I think that’s the biggest thing. If you’re creating chances, they’re going to come eventually. If you do that, you’re going to be successful.”

Having notched eight goals and 18 assists in 15 games, Strome had been centering a line with fellow 20 year old prospects Nick Merkley and Lawson Crouse. Merkley’s 10 goals this season are tied for second in the AHL entering play Monday.

“I had good chemistry with my linemates, so I think that was huge,” Strome said. “I played with Merkley every game I was down there, and he’s a great player so we’re really close and that helps on the ice when you’re close friends with your linemates. We just connected well and we were feeling it.

“I think a lot of it was just to go and get confident,” Strome said. “We were just trying to create chances, and if you create chances then good things are going to come and they’re eventually going to go in.

Strome certainly feels more confident now that he’s performed well at the professional level. Now, it’s a matter of readjusting to life in the NHL.

“Obviously I’ve been here and I know the guys, I know the locker room,” Strome said. “It’s a different life out here. You don’t think about the things that guys up here are doing. Obviously down there you’re taking the bus and different travel and things like that so you just get adjusted. It’s obviously a lot easier up here when you’re flying first class and you’re treated like a millionaire. You’re treated like you’re really special, so you’ve got to find a way to adjust and have fun.”

Although Strome has played center for almost the entirety of his career, the 20 year old was running drills as a right wing with center Brad Richardson and left wing Clayton Keller during Monday’s practice at Gila River Arena. Some reasons for his early season demotion was pace of play and a lack of defensive responsibility, so a tryout on the wing could be a way of giving the rookie less responsibility.

“Playing with those guys in Tucson , they’re fast players so you’ve got to be able to keep up with them and not look out of place on the line,” Strome said. “Now being up here and playing with Keller , he’s obviously a fast player so I’ve got to find ways to keep up and create plays at a high pace. I’ve been working on that and it’s been going good, so we’ll just try to keep it up.”

Head coach Rick Tocchet said he just wants Strome to play his game, whether that’s on the wing or at center.

“I want him to just relax. If there’s times for him to be down low, he’s going to be down low,” Tocchet said. “But I think right now I’d like to try him on wing. It’s not set in stone. I might even even put him at center sometimes when I need him, but he’s a versatile guy. I’d just like to try him at wing right now and see how it goes.”

With Strome’s addition to the lineup, Brendan Perlini, Derek Stepan and Tobias Rieder stayed together as the top Coyotes line — while Max Domi, Christian Dvorak and Christian Fischer made up the second. The Keller Richardson Strome line was third, and a fourth unit of Jordan Martinook, Zac Rinaldo, Nick Cousins and Anthony Duclair skated together in alternate combinations at practice. The defensive pairs remained the same from the previous week.

On Tuesday, Strome will get the chance to play against his older brother, Ryan, who scored the winning goal for the Oilers in their win over the Bruins on Sunday.

It will be the second time the two have played each other in the NHL, the first coming in 3 2 loss to the New York Islanders on Oct. 21.

“I’ve only played nine games in this league, this will be my 10th and two are against my brother,” Strome said. “Funny how that works out but obviously it’s something you dream about when you’re a kid. You dream about being on the same line but obviously playing against him is pretty special. Played against him once, and they got the better of us so hopefully we can change that around Tuesday .

“I just wanted to work hard and show them that I wanted to get back up here. Obviously the Roadrunners are doing well, and individually my line was doing well so I’m fortunate enough to be back.”

Chychrun ‘getting close’

Coyotes defenseman Jakob Chychrun skated with the team during Monday’s practice https://www.azcoyotesfans.com/marek-lang...y-c-2.html, further indication that the 19 year old blueliner is nearing a return to game action.

Chychrun, who underwent offseason knee surgery, has been skating with the team since Nov. 19 and slowly increasing the intensity of his workouts. Coyotes head coach Rick Tocchet said the defenseman will start getting more physical and could make a return to the lineup sooner rather than later.

“It’s really good,” Tocchet said. “Now is the time this week to get some pushing and shoving. We’re going to get him in some drills. He’ll start to do that this week and he’s very close to playing.”

Chychrun will travel with the team to Edmonton and Calgary and skate with his teammates with increased intensity. Tocchet said they will reevaluate his timetable for return in the next four to five days ahead of Saturday’s home game against the Devils.
Coyotes starting goaltender Antti Raanta will not play in Tuesday’s game against the Oilers, according to Tocchet. Raanta will not make the trip, but could travel to meet the team on Thursday in Calgary.

“For Edmonton, he won’t play ,” Tocchet said. “But for Calgary we’re not sure. He’s getting better every day, but he’s obviously not going to play against Edmonton. We’ll go from there.”

Raanta suffered an upper body injury on Wednesday during a collision with Sharks forward Logan Couture and is still considered day to day. Backup goaltender Scott Wedgwood has assumed starting duties and Marek Langahmer was recalled from the team’s AHL affiliate in Tucson to serve as the new backup.

Tuesday’s game

Coyotes at Oilers

When 7 00 p.m.

Where Rogers Place, Edmonton.

TV/Radio Fox Sports Arizona Plus/KTAR AM 620 .

Outlook The Coyotes 6 17 3 will look to win their fifth game in their past seven contests when they travel to face the underperforming Oilers 9 13 2 on Tuesday in Edmonton. Arizona has won three straight on the road and three straight in Canada. The Oilers return home after a five game road trip in which they went 2 3. … Aside from their young captain Connor McDavid 10 goals, 20 assists , the Oilers have struggled to score goals on a consistent basis this season. After making the playoffs in 2017, Edmonton’s 64 goals scored this season is tied with the Coyotes for second fewest in the Western Conference entering play Monday. … After allowing 10 goals in a two game stretch, Oilers starting goaltender Cam Talbot has since picked up wins in back to back contests and is expected between the pipes on Tuesday. ... Coyotes goaltender Antti Raanta is dealing with an upper body injury and did not practice with the team on Monday. He has been ruled out for the game in Edmonton. ... Former Coyotes top draft pick Dylan Strome was recalled by the team and is expected to play in Edmonton against his older brother, Ryan, who scored the winning goal in the Oilers’ win over the Bruins on Sunday.
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