Connor McDavid and Jack Eichel went one-two as expected as the Arizona Coyotes were put on the clock at number three overall. With that selection, they selected 18 year-old Canadian Center Dylan Strome.
The 6-3, 185 produce of Mississauga, Ontario played 68 games for the Erie Otters in the Ontario Hockey League where he had a total of 129 points (45 goals and 84 assists) which led the league. He added 22 more points (10 goals and 12 assists) in 20 postseason contests before Erie fell to Oshawa in the OHL Final.
— Dylan Strome (@stromer19) June 27, 2015
Goal scoring has been a major issue that last few seasons for the Coyotes and they used this top-three pick to try and address that going forward.
“You can’t win in this league without strength in the center ice position,” Coyotes Don Maloney said after the selection. “He has it all. He’s big, he scores, he’s got skill. He needs a little more time to develop but when you look at what our needs were, he was the ideal fit for us.”
Hockey scouts say his biggest strength is his “game savvy” where he has great knowledge and game IQ who is big and makes everyone around him better. His biggest areas of improvement involve speed and agility which might hamper his ability to come in and play right away at the NHL level.
He is the younger brother of Ryan Strome who was selected fifth overall in 2011 by the New York Islanders.
There were a lot of rumors that the Coyotes had received some very inciting offers leading up to the draft that might have seen them deal this pick. Maloney confirmed that but the position Strome plays is just too valuable.
“We had two offers to trade that pick outright and one of them was quite serious but again it was that center position, we said ‘where do you find that?'” explained Maloney.
The stayed with an offensive mindset with their second first round pick And selected forward Nick Merkley from Kelowna of the Western Hockey League 30th overall. A 5-10, 191 pound 18 year old from Calgary who registered 90 points (20 goals and 70 assists) with a plus-29 rating in 72 games in 2014-15. He led Kelowna and ranked sixth in the league in scoring and finished third in the WHL in assists.
Amazing feeling waking up a part of the @ArizonaCoyotes organization
— Nick Merkley (@merkdaddy4) June 27, 2015