Oilers use Strome as No. 3 centre for now


It was a foregone conclusion that Jordan Eberle would wind upon the New York Islanders’ top line alongside John Tavares, the team’s star and captain.

Then there’s the man for whom the Edmonton Oilers traded Eberle: Ryan Strome? Is he a right-winger or a centre? On the Oilers’ first-line alongside Connor McDavid or the centring the third?

Strome is on the second power-play unit, but at even-strength or with the man advantage, he’s still feeling his way. He’s a good player — a former fifth-overall draft pick of the Islanders — but so far, colour his production beige.

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It’s an awfully small sample size, obviously. And very few Oilers forwards through the three regular-season games have stood out. Only Connor McDavid (3), Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (2) and Leon Draisaitl (1) have scored, so you can describe most of them as “meh.”

What we know about Strome, who came to the Oilers in late June for Eberle, is he’s younger and cheaper, but the Oilers gave up Eberle’s better career stats. They’re saving $3.5 million on the salary cap this year, and Strome is age 24 while Eberle is 27. But Eberle, even with his imperfections in the playoffs last spring when he didn’t score in 13 games, has still played twice as many NHL games, 511 vs. 261, and has 384 points to Strome’s 126.

Strome started on McDavid’s right wing at camp and scored a couple of goals but has played as the No. 3 centre behind McDavid and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins in the regular-season. Leon Draisaitl moved back to McDavid’s line because no one else seized it, and teenager Kailer Yamamoto, who has played two regular-season games, …read more

Source:: Edmonton Journal

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