Prospect of Interest: The 411 on Matthew Strome

Matthew is the third instalment of the Strome brothers and will be tasked with quite the assignment: Carrying on the tradition of being selected in the first round of the NHL Draft.

Is that a possibility? Let’s take a closer look.

Age on June 23: 18
From: Mississauga, Ont.
Current Team: Hamilton Bulldogs
Position: Left wing
Shoots: L
Height: 6-foot-3
Weight: 201 lbs.
Twitter account: @Mstrome16
NHL Central Scouting Rank (North America) : 33

Family tradition

Strome’s oldest brother Ryan was selected by the New York Islanders with the fifth pick in the 2011 NHL Draft, while middle sibling Dylan was taken third overall by the Arizona Coyotes in 2015.

Matthew might be in tough to follow suit.

He currently ranks 33rd among North American skaters by NHL Central Scouting. Factor in the separately ranked European players, as well as goalies, and its conceivable Strome could fall to the second round in the draft.

He posted 50 goals and 100 points in 127 OHL games across two seasons, numbers that are well below the tallies his brothers put up during their time in the league.

#nhl#draft#2011 @dylstrome16 @strome18

39 Likes, 2 Comments – Matt Strome (@mattstrome18) on Instagram: “#nhl#draft#2011 @dylstrome16 @strome18”

Mind game

The mental side of Strome’s game is undeniably strong — in this year’s OHL Coaches Poll he was named the No. 2 “Smartest Player” in the league’s Eastern Conference. Pair that with his big, strong frame and it’s a combo that makes him a tough presence to defend around the net.

“He’s kind of like a brute; that’s what we call him,” Ryan Strome told NHL.com about his brother. “When you have a (6-foot-3) body, you kind of have to play that way. He gets to the front of the net, creates space for himself. He’s a big boy so that’s kind of the role he plays. He plays a strong power game because he knows how to get around the net.”

Strome also has some “bite” to his game, ranking second on the Bulldogs with 62 penalty minutes.

Skating struggles

A consistent red flag attached to Strome is his skating ability. It’s been a knock that’s followed him for some time.

Sportsnet’s Gare Joyce spoke with three scouts about Strome for a November 2016 story. They all agreed that side of his game was lagging behind.

“I just don’t know at this point,” said one Ontario-based NHL scout. “Seeing him three times [this season], if he’s a prospect at the next level for me or just a really good junior whose skating keeps him out of the league.

“His brother [Dylan] wasn’t a great skater in his draft year, but you had a sense that it was just a matter of strength—if he put the work in, then it was going to improve, which is exactly what happened in the season after his draft year, a big step up.

“Skating didn’t become a strength [for Dylan], but it stopped being a real issue. But [Matthew] has a whole other problem. Technically it’s sort of painful to watch. He has a short, choppy stride. It’s not clear how much you can improve it with added strength and physical maturity.”