Dylan Strome out to prove he “should’ve gone higher” in NHL Entry Draft

GLENDALE, Ariz. – Dylan Strome is used to being in the spotlight: it comes with the territory when you play alongside an eventual No. 1 draft pick in Connor McDavid, like Strome did with the Erie Otters of the Ontario Hockey League.

“Yeah, I think it helps for things like this,” Strome said at his first meeting with the Arizona media prior to the start of Arizona Coyotes’ Development Camp. “You get used to doing those sorts of things. It helped with the high profile team we had. We just got used to it.”

Strome came in two picks behind McDavid to the Coyotes. Obviously when you’re 18-years-old, and you’re a top-3 draft pick like Strome is, life immediately changes for you. The attention meter is slammed all the way in your direction when you’re taken that high in the draft. Strome says life has been bananas ever since the Coyotes chose him, but it’s something he’s enjoying.

“It’s been crazy, it’s been a whirlwind,” Strome said. “I didn’t really know what to expect coming into the draft day. I obviously had no idea where I was going to end up. I was happy that (the) Arizona (Coyotes) kept the pick. We’re extremely happy that we got selected here.”

In a way, Strome felt like a No. 1 draft pick. With McDavid and Jack Eichel pretty much assured either way of going 1-2 to the Edmonton Oilers and Buffalo Sabres, the draft really started with the third overall pick, of which Strome became.

“It was kind of a weird day. That No. 3 pick was wide open. (Arizona Coyotes’ general manager) Mr. (Don) Maloney said numerous times that I was their guy,” Strome said. “It felt pretty special to be (in) the next tier behind those two guys (McDavid and Eichel). I’m going to try to prove throughout my career that maybe I should’ve gone higher.”

Arizona head coach Dave Tippett said the team is looking to “fast-track” their young talent to the NHL and get them competing immediately. That rocket to the big leagues started on Tuesday at Coyotes’ Development Camp, of which Strome took part in. Strome isn’t waiting until training camp to show Tippett he’s worthy of a starting spot; he’s jumping in feet first at the Ice Den and letting his skills do the talking for him.

“It starts now,” Strome said. “It’s definitely important to leave a good first impression; this is obviously the start to that. Training camp’s obviously important, but so is this. This is the first chance to show them what you’ve got. You want to show them what you’ve been doing throughout the summer. I’m going to go out there, and give it (my) all and see what happens.”

Strome could be with a team who doesn’t share the same philosophy that the Coyotes do. He could be with a veteran-centered team who believes in nurturing their younger talent. Fortunately, he’s in a good place, because Arizona’s not that kind of team. Tippett and the Coyotes don’t have time to coddle their 18-year-olds. It’s time for them to grow up and grow up quickly.

“It’s a good situation. Any team you go to, if you go that high in the draft, they’re going to give you all the opportunities, (and) it’s up to you to prove that you deserve to be here (and) you deserve to play. If you’re not ready, then they’re going to send you back to Juniors; that’s the way it goes,” Strome said. “I’m going to try and prove to them that I’m ready to play here this year, and I’m going to do whatever it takes to do that.”

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