Strome ready for pressure of being a Maple Leaf


Dylan Strome scored in a shootout to lift the undefeated Erie Otters to a 4-3 victory over the Peterborough Petes (Terry Wilson/OHL Images)

We already know Dylan Strome is excited at the idea of potentially being drafted by the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Now we also know that the pressure of being selected by the team he grew up cheering for, the pressure of becoming a star in the biggest hockey market in the world, doesn’t intimidate him.

“I think I know a lot more than people would think about Toronto and the team and the media [pressure] and stuff like that. Obviously it’s something a player that gets drafted there has to deal with. If that happens, I’m going to be prepared for that,” Strome told Dean Blundell & Co. on Sportsnet 590 The Fan Wednesday.

LISTEN: Dylan Strome talks OHL playoffs, upcoming NHL Draft

The Maple Leafs currently hold the No. 4 pick in the upcoming 2015 NHL Draft and Strome happens to be the fourth-ranked prospect. Following April’s NHL Draft Lottery, which saw the Edmonton Oilers win the right to select Strome’s Erie Otters teammate Connor McDavid, Sportsnet’s Damien Cox had Strome going to Toronto in his mock draft.

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“I’m going to be ready,” Strome said. “There’s going to be a lot of obstacles you have to overcome, but at the same time I’m from Mississauga so I know the craziness and the hype and what happens when [the Leafs] get to the playoffs and how crazy it really is. I think I’d be prepared for that.”

The 18-year-old led the Ontario Hockey League in scoring this season with 45 goals, 84 assists for 129 points in 68 games and so far through 15 playoff games, Strome has 19 points – only slightly behind McDavid’s 42 (!) in the same number of games.

RELATED: Scouts shift focus to Strome ahead of NHL draft

Strome won’t be the only top prospect hoping the Leafs call his name on draft day. London Knights star forward Mitch Marner told Dean Blundell & Co. last month it would be “a dream come true” to be selected by the Leafs.

The Leafs will in all likelihood wind up with either Strome or Marner – unless the Arizona Coyotes select one of them at No. 3. In that case, Leafs management will also have Boston College defenceman Noah Hanifin to consider.

“Everyone I think I’ve ever met from Toronto is a Leafs fan, so growing up watching them it’s obviously pretty special to be in the conversation of potentially getting selected there,” Strome added. “It’s the NHL, it’s not like you’re holding out for one team. It’s not like that, but at the same time Toronto would be pretty special.”

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