International Ice Hockey Federation

Strome looking to impress

Strome looking to impress

Canada aims to improve on fourth at U18s

Published 12.04.2017 22:27 GMT+2 | Author Dhiren Mahiban
Strome looking to impress
Canada’s Matthew Strome battles for the puck with Russia’s Klim Kostin during the 2016 Ivan Hlinka Memorial Cup. Photo: Andreas Robanser /
Matthew Strome will be one of seven Team Canada members, who participated at the 2016 Hlinka Memorial and will play at the U18 Worlds as of tomorrow.

Canada enters the tournament looking to improve on its fourth place finish from a year ago in Grand Forks, North Dakota.

Strome, a native of Mississauga, Ontario, scored one goal in four games at last year’s Ivan Hlinka Memorial Cup as Canada finished fifth.

“It was a great experience to play for Canada,” Strome said. “To make that team, it's such an honour to be there.”

This year’s IIHF Ice Hockey U18 World Championship will be one last chance for the 18-year-old to show NHL scouts what he’s capable of in game action prior to June’s NHL Draft.

On Tuesday, NHL Central Scouting ranked Strome 33rd overall amongst North American skaters for the NHL Draft, which takes place in Chicago, 23-24 June.

Strome has no shortage of help when it comes to preparation for the whirlwind of the NHL Draft experience. His eldest brother, Ryan Strome, was the fifth overall pick by the Islanders in 2011 and his middle brother, Dylan Strome, is an Arizona Coyotes prospect.

“It’s obviously an important season, but he’s having fun, his team (did) well and I think he’s doing well,” said Dylan Strome, a silver medallist with Team Canada at the IIHF World Junior Championship in January. “He knows how to play to be successful - he’s got to fore-check hard and try and get his skating going and finish checks and get to the net. When he does that, he’s successful.”

Matthew Strome, a 6-foot-4, 206-pound left winger, just finished his second season with the Ontario Hockey League’s Hamilton Bulldogs where he scored a team-leading 34 goals and 62 points in 66 games. He added one goal and seven assists in seven playoff games for the Bulldogs.

With at least four games beginning on Thursday against Latvia, improving on his skating will be a focal point for the youngest Strome.

“That's the biggest thing going to the next level,” he said. “I know that I have to work on it, and I'm going to work extra hard to do that.”

Strome considers himself a power forward and tries to model his game after Anaheim Ducks’ forward Corey Perry. He uses his size well and is able to out-muscle opponents when battling for pucks.

Despite his poor skating, his excellent hockey sense helps him know where to be on the ice.

Strome spent last summer in Toronto working with renowned skating coach Barb Underhill and saw improvements on the ice this season.

Ryan Strome, who just finished his third full season with the Islanders, isn’t overly concerned about Matthew’s skating issues.

“I think he knows that he has to work on it, but at the same time, he’s having pretty good success where he is without being a great skater,” said Ryan Strome a member of Team Canada at both the 2012 and 2013 IIHF World Junior tournaments. “He just needs to improve on that, which he will and he’ll come a long way.”

Following the U18 World Championship, Matthew Strome will have a little over a month to prepare for one of the more tedious steps of the draft process: NHL Scouting Combine.

Having gone through the process before, Ryan Strome says Matthew Strome should focus on himself at the event.

“Just stay even-keel, do the best you can,” said Ryan Strome. “I wouldn’t worry too much about it. You can’t put too much emphasis on it. You just got to go in there and do what you can do, do you best and I think if teams see your character and your work ethic, you’ll be fine.”

In spite of his ranking, which could see Matthew Strome go in the second round of the draft, Bulldogs coach John Gruden believes any team passing on the forward in the first round will regret it.

“He's just a big power forward. I'm thinking of Detroit, watching Johan Franzen, likes to play heavy and a guy that hasn't really grown into his body,” Gruden said. “He's really smart and will go to the front of the net, sees the ice really well.

“For us, with Matthew, I think he's going to be a first-rounder. I think if he falls out of the Top 20, someone's making a mistake.”

It may be a short tournament, but Strome’s performance at the U18 World Championship could play a role in when he hears his name in June.


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