Islander rookie Ryan Strome notched his first career NHL goal in Monday’s game against the Dallas Stars. The eagerly anticipated goal breaks the ice for the highly-regarded first year pro, who enters the NHL facing great expectations based on his high talent level and strong offensive instincts.
Strome, the fifth overall selection in the 2011 NHL entry draft, has four points in eleven games on the season, including two points in his last two games. The goal, a power play marker assisted by John Tavares and Thomas Vanek, got the Isles on the board, the first of seven the team scored en route to a 7-3 rout of the Stars.
Not merely a call-up as a spare part or to play sparing minutes in a limited role, Strome has been thrust into key situations including time on the top power play unit. He’s averaging just under 14 minutes per game and appears to be settling into his role nicely.
Strome had registered 33 points on nine goals and 24 assists in just 23 games with the Bridgeport Sound Tigers, and was leading the AHL in scoring at the time of his promotion to the big club. He performed well in limited action with Bridgeport last season, recording two goals and seven points in ten games before returning to Niagara of the OHL where he was a dominant force. In 46 games with Niagara Strome collected 30 goals and 106 points. He also excelled at the 2011-12 World Junior Championship, where he accumulated four goals and six points in six games played.
There were mixed opinions on whether bringing Strome to the Islanders would be beneficial at this stage of his career, given the state of dysfunction the Isles were experiencing at the time. Some felt he should have been on the opening night roster, while others maintained a full season in Bridgeport would have been much more beneficial. For the time being, it seems Strome’s position with the parent club should be safe for the immediate future.