After coming to Niagara last season as the centerpiece of the Alex Pietrangelo deal with the Barrie Colts, IceDogs forward Ryan Strome has already proven his worth.
The 17-year-old forward had an impressive training camp for the IceDogs, looking much more confident, composed, and ready to contribute offensively. In the IceDogs first ten games of the season, Strome has collected 6 goals and 14 assists to lead the OHL with 20 points. The young centre has the whole package; work ethic, playmaking ability, puck poise, speed, physicality, and a wicked shot – Strome has laughed in the face at the idea of a sophomore slump. Strome kicked off the season with 2 goals in his first game against the Sudbury Wolves, followed by 2 assists against Sault St. Marie, then 1 goal and 2 assists against the Erie Otters. Since then, Strome has only one game where he didn’t record a single point against the Brampton Battalion, and just two games where he recorded just one assist. The other seven of ten games played have all been multi-point games, including a hat-trick and one assist against the Belleville Bulls. Strome has an incredible hockey sense that not only allows him to somehow always find the right spot on the ice, but enables him to find the open passing lane and make that perfect setup pass, which so far this season has led to 14 goals. His play reminds me of a Brad Richards/Ryan Getzlaf style; he has the ability to score beautiful goals, but often looks to make the perfect pass. As he grows he has the ability to bulk up and gain decent size to make him a dangerous body both along the boards and in the slot. Although he is known as more of a finesse player, his grit shouldn’t be passed over. He recently dropped the gloves with Oshawa’s Kyle Hope and got the best of him, and also had a fight in his rookie season as a Barrie Colt. His tenacity and fearlessness benefits him all over the ice, and especially in the corners. In the opening weeks of the season, this second year sensation has proven he has what it takes to compete with the OHL’s elite, and continue to contribute offensively for this dangerous IceDogs squad. It also helps to have leaders and skilled players such as Andrew Agozzino, Alex Friesen, Freddie Hamilton, and Steven Shipley to feed the puck to and occasionally accept some passes of his own. The aforementioned group has been a great success as the IceDogs primary scoring and power play unit, with Alex Friesen often playing the point with Dougie Hamilton, along with Strome, Agozzino, and Freddie Hamilton up front, it is no surprise the Dogs are in the top three in goals for in the Eastern Conference. Determination, skill, grit, vision, agility, chemistry with teammates – all factors contributing to Ryan Strome’s recent success, which it’s no surprise Strome is one of the hottest players to begin the 2010-11 OHL season. - Jeff Blay, In the O… Blogger