CHL Update - Making a case for Ryan Strome

TORONTO CANADA - JANUARY 19: Ryan Strome #16 of Team Cherry tries to elude the check of Boone Jenner #12 of Team Orr in the 2011 Home Hardware CHL/NHL Prospects game on January 19 2011 at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto Canada. (Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images)

This is Ryan Strome of the Niagra Ice-Dogs. No player has seen his draft stock rise the way Strome has. Just a season ago he was thought of to be a marginal top 60 selection, but he started off this season as the hottest player in the OHL making scouts notice his size, speed and creativity. Prevailing wisdom held that his start was just a hot streak and his production would slow down as the season progressed. However, Strome bucked the conventional wisdom. He has been a consistent point producer all season long and has been particularly impressive in the last two months where he has been scoring at a rate higher than 2 points per game. Now the question is how early in the draft will he be chosen? Is he a candidate for first overall draft choice? He has had the similar impact on his team as Seguin had on the Plymouth Whalers. His 1.66 p/g scoring is just slightly lower than 1.68 of Seguin last season.  Nate Seager of Buzzing the net(puck daddy's equivalent of a CHL blog) further highlights the similarities between Seguin and Strome by pointing out the following:

Here's something to consider: last season, Tyler Seguin factored into 45.1 per cent of Plymouth Whalers goals (only counting the games he played; he missed two). Strome, with 89 points for the surging IceDogs, is in that range at 42.8%

The difference is in goal scoring; while Seguin scored 48 goals for his team, Strome has been more of a play-maker, but on pace for 30+ goals. Another thing to remember is that Strome will not be turning 18 until after the draft. Then why is he not ranked among the elite of this draft? Smarter people than me are asking the same thing. Scott Reynolds was trying to find out why Strome is not as talked about. Lowetide pointed out that Ryan Strome has the highest Desjardin's NHL equivalency. It doesn't matter where the various scouting services have ranked Strome. I believe that he is in the race for being a top 5 selection and I think his rise mirrors that of Ryan Johansen. Nate Seager and Brock Otten of OHL prospects believe that Strome should be in contention for Red Tilson trophy (OHL MVP)

Brock Otten:

Could we really see back to back draft eligible players take home this award? It certainly seems likely. Strome has been a consistent offensive performer all season long and has recently taken over the scoring lead from Tyler Toffoli. The Dogs are now only 4 points back of Mississauga for the top spot in the East (and the entire league). Could voters really ignore the type of season and the type of impact Strome has had for Niagara, if they end up on top of the league?

However, a couple of games later, Strome suffered 'an upper body injury' due a dirty play by Joey Hishon and is out indefinitely. If Strome is out for the season, this could be a major setback for Strome and his surge towards a top 5 draft pick.

After the jump we will look at the situational scoring for some players in the CHL. These are the year to date totals as of February 22nd 2011. The situational scoring between the updates is posted as fan posts for reference purposes.

As usual, ZPG is Zero point games. Players in black are draft prospects for the upcoming draft. Players in copper are Oilers prospects. Players in red are first round draft picks from the previous draft and those in blue were drafted in 2009.

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Some Thoughts:

  • Gabriel Landeskog is back to make the draft race interesting. It took him a couple of games to find his groove back, but he is back to tormenting other OHL teams. Its no coincidence that Kitchner had one of its most consistent dominating streak after the return of its captain. There are some scouts who are making comparisons with Iginla. However, Kirk Luedeke believes that he is a manchild of Mats Sundin and Brendan Shanahan. The article can be found here
  • One of the most interesting stories of this draft is the Sean Couturier versus Ryan Hopkins. While math heavily favors Couturier, the 'saw him good' crowd absolutely loves Hopkins. While Hopkins ultra hot streak came to an end, Sean Couturier continued his domination on QMJHL scoring race. While he is third in scoring, he has the best P/G pace of anyone else in the Q.
  • I think the best part about this draft is the fact that there is a group of players who have separated themselves from the rest of the pack. While not every one of them can lay claim to first overall, but once the first is gone, they may go in any order. After the four already mentioned players and Adam Larsson, Ryan Murphy, Doug Hamilton and Johnathan Huberdeau round out the reast of the group.
  • Every year us draft nuts go on, research players, debate their stats, create mock draft lists and talk endlessly about the potential of these draft picks. What we we forget is that most of them will not pan out to the next level. Injuries will derail some of them, others will just not be able to adjust to the pro-game and ten years down the line, we will remember only a few of them. For instance, who would have thought that Shawn Horcoff would be 14th among all players from the 1998 draft in games played and 10th in points.
  • Oilers prospects continue to have a stellar season. Tyler Pitlick sat out a couple of games with an injury; however he is back and had a great game recently where he scored 2 goals and an assist. The blueliners continue their stellar season. While Martin Marincin did not register a single point in his last 4 games, 50 points in 54 games is a very good point total. Guess which of them lead their club in +/- among regular players and is second in team scoring? Brandon Davidson, damn right! 19 year olds Martindale and Hamilton are playing on two of the best lines in the CHL. Hamilton has the best P/G ratio on his team after Brayden Schenn who is probably the best player in juniors right now. Even Cameron Abney had a very good fortnight registering 5 points in 6 games.
  • Among the goalies, Tyler Bunz is second in the WHL in save percentage and Olivier Roy is 6th. While Bunz has been consistently good all season long, Roy has overcome a mid season slump where is save percentage had fallen to .903 to have a streak of great games to pull his save percentage to a respectable .911.
  • Sometimes we rightly make a big deal about injuries to prospects. Losing time at such a crucial age can be highly detrimental to the development of the prospect. Drafting such players is a gamble, especially early on in the draft. However, sometimes the reward is pretty good and the shining examples of this are Brett Connolly and Jared Cowen drafted 6th and 9th overall by the Tampa Bay Lightning and Ottawa Senators in 2010 and 2009 drafts respectively. They are having stellar season with their respective clubs.
  • In a very curious move yesterday, the Dallas Stars shipped away James Neal. I don't really know who they think can replace him from their prospect pool. If they are baking on Scott Glennie, I dont think that would be a very wise bet. The top 10 draft pick from 2009 is not even the leading scorer on his own team. Joe Nieuwendyk, on two unrelated occasions have made fans of Oilers and Penguins very happy.
  • Before concluding, I would encourage the readers to suggest any other prospects they would like me to add to this list. If Derek permits me, Next week I will try and post the percentage contribution of each player towards the team's offense.
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