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Strome Returned to Niagara

The Islanders fifth overall selection in the 2011 NHL Entry Draft was glad to get the experience at the NHL level, even though he didn't make his NHL debut

Thursday, 10.13.2011 / 12:44 PM ET / News
By Dyan LeBourdais
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Strome Returned to Niagara
Being selected fifth overall in the 2011 NHL Entry Draft on June 24 was just the start of a whirlwind summer for Islanders prospect Ryan Strome. In the next three-and-a-half months, the centerman attended Canada’s World Junior Development Camp, as well as Islanders Rookie Camp, Development Camp and Training Camp. Making the 23-man roster to start the 2011-12 season was an added bonus.

Though he earned one of the final spots on the team, the message he received from team management was clear from the beginning. He was intended to soak in as much of the professional atmosphere as he could, to learn what it takes to play at the NHL level and then return to his junior club, the Ontario Hockey League’s Niagara IceDogs.

Ryan Strome #8 of the New York Islanders skates against the Boston Bruins during a rookie game exhibition at Nassau Coliseum on September 12, 2011 in Uniondale, New York. The Bruins defeated the Islanders 8-5. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
He was assigned there Thursday morning.

“I’m just happy I got the opportunity to be around the team during the regular season to see what it’s like,” Strome said. “They (coaches and management) wanted me to have a good experience and get a good taste of things. I think I did that.”

Strome was a healthy scratch in the Islanders first two games this season. Watching two games from the Islanders press box level and practicing with the full roster was an invaluable learning experience, but for a young player to develop, he needs ice time.

“Right now, with the numbers that we have, it’s best that he goes back and plays,” said Islanders Head Coach Jack Capuano. “That’s the most important thing for a young man like that, to go back and play as much hockey as he can. We had a great conversation with him this morning and he’s very thankful, but realizes the experience he needs right now is to play.”

Going back to Niagara should be good for the 18-year-old. In 65 games last season, he scored 33 goals and 73 assists for 106 points, leading Niagara in scoring and finishing third in the OHL. As a result, he was voted Most Improved Player and Best Playmaker in the OHL Eastern Conference Coaches Poll.

“Another year is definitely not going to hurt anyone,” Strome said about his own development. “Nino did it and he looks a lot better this year, from what I’ve heard, and he’s a lot more comfortable.”

He added, “So now that I’ve been through the rookie camp, development camp and the main camp, I’m going to come in next year not having to learn as much and just coming in and playing. I’m looking forward to the opportunity.”

In the long run, Strome plans to work on his game so that he receives another opportunity to make the Islanders roster next season; he also hopes he’ll make Team Canada’s final roster for the 2012 World Junior Championships. However, right now he’s concentrating on the present. His friends in Niagara have opened the OHL season with a 2-5-0 record in their first seven games.

(Making Team Canada is) a huge goal of mine and something I look forward to the opportunity of doing, but first and foremost, I want to try to get Niagara back on track a little bit. The pieces are there, but we’re just struggling a bit right now. So hopefully we’ll start to turn things around now. - Ryan Strome
“(Making Team Canada is) a huge goal of mine and something I look forward to the opportunity of doing, but first and foremost, I want to try to get Niagara back on track a little bit,” Strome said. “The pieces are there, but we’re just struggling a bit right now. So hopefully we’ll start to turn things around now.”

Last season, Niederreiter was placed in a similar position. He played in the Islanders first nine games of the season before he was returned to the Portland Winterhawks of the Western Hockey League and he returned as a force.

Strome saw what it did for Niederreiter’s confidence coming in to camp in September and hopes he’ll be able to emulate the strides the Swiss winger made in his additional season with his junior club.

“(Nino has) told me how beneficial his experience was when he got to go back down and how he got to work on things and had a great year back down (in junior), so that’s what I plan on doing,” Strome said. “I’m looking forward to the opportunity to play in junior again. I miss my buddies back there and I’m thankful for the opportunity I got here.”




J. Tavares 78 33 37 6 70
K. Okposo 79 22 42 -4 64
F. Nielsen 81 20 32 1 52
B. Nelson 81 26 14 -3 40
N. Leddy 81 5 35 -9 40
A. Lee 80 15 21 -2 36
J. Bailey 81 12 20 -7 32
C. Cizikas 80 8 21 4 29
R. Strome 71 8 20 -9 28
M. Grabovski 58 9 16 3 25
T. Greiss 23 11 4 .925 2.36
J. Halak 18 13 4 .919 2.30
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