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Playing ourselves into a project

So what happens if McDavid or Eichel aren't on the board when the Oilers make their pick?

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Under new bench boss Todd Nelson, the Edmonton Oilers have jumped off to a 3-2-2 record which has seen the Oilers take a new form.

While the sample size is left extremely small, the past seven games have given us a good look into what life is like with Nelson behind the bench.

Bringing in guys like Rob Klinkhammer, Matt Fraser and Derek Roy have accented the style of game Nelson seems to be bringing to the team.

But what about Connor? Or Jack?

Although the sample size is small, there is much reason to believe that the Oilers will continue to be on the up-and-up as the rest of the season goes on.

While Connor McDavid is widely considered the top player in the NHL draft, and Jack Eichel is set to go 2nd, Erie Otters C 17-year old Dylan Strome is making a good argument to raise his draft stock.

Hockey runs in the Strome family as he is the younger brother of 2011 5th overall draft pick Ryan Strome, who landed with the New York Islanders.

When McDavid went down with his hand injury prior to leaving for the World Juniors, all 6'3, 187 lbs of Dylan Strome stepped up in a way no one expected scoring 29 points in 20 games.

Strome now has 76 points in 41 games this season.

I spoke with Victor Fernandes of the Erie Times-News who had this to say of Dylan Strome:

Dylan has played very well all season long, but the true measure of the kind of player he is came while McDavid was out of the lineup for 2 months. Dylan stepped up into the No. 1 center spot, and played against every opponent's top D pairing, after starting the season as the second-line center - and he never missed a beat. If anything, people started appreciating his game more, given the challenge he faced without McDavid playing in front of him.

He's a much different player than McDavid. Dylan doesn't have that top-end speed or the flashy moves that everyone expects from Connor. But the game seems to slow down for him, especially when he has the puck. He puts himself in the right place at right time, because he thinks a step or two ahead. He's also responsible in his own end, which comes from being more of a role player as a rookie on a veteran team that didn't need him to be a frontline player. He worked on other aspects of his game while his offensive game developed. By the end of last season, he was one of their most consistent offensive weapons.

Off the ice, he's very respectful, has a personality that draws his teammates to him, and always seems to say the right thing. He hasn't gotten caught up in all this NHL draft talk. Of course, it helps to have an older brother in Ryan Strome who has been through all that Dylan is going through now. But Dylan certainly has learned how to handle it all.

So now we drafted Strome, what does that mean?

It means that he'll likely be heading back to Erie. Dylan Strome has the size and ability to succeed at the NHL but he will need some more time in the OHL to polish his game before he makes the next step.

Strome is currently rated #7 by ISS Hockey while the Otters are currently in 3rd place in the OHL standings, behind the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds and the Oshawa Generals.

Mark Acrobello Claimed