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2019 Blackhawks Top 25 Under 25: Dylan Strome at No. 4

The center is hoping to build on a 51-point campaign.

NHL: Chicago Blackhawks at Detroit Red Wings Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

Second City Hockey’s 2019-20 preseason Blackhawks Top 25 Under 25 series ranks the organization’s top 25 players under the age of 25 by Oct. 1, 2019. The rankings are determined by a composite score from six SCH writers and more than 70 readers. Each participant used their own metric of current ability and production against future projection to rank each player. The six SCH writers will make their ballots public after the series is completed.

When you look back at the 2015 NHL draft, Strome was sandwiched at No. 3 overall between three eventual NHL superstars - Connor McDavid (No. 1), Jack Eichel (No. 2) and Mitch Marner (No. 4). It’s highly unlikely Strome will ever outperform them. Yet, since he arrived in Chicago in late November following a trade with the Coyotes for Nick Schmaltz, Strome has certainly exceeded expectations.

After three underwhelming seasons in Arizona, where Strome bounced up and down from the AHL, recorded 16 points (seven goals, nine assists) in 48 games and only averaged 13:18 minutes of ice time at the bottom of the lineup, the move to Chicago immediately energized him.

In his first 17 games with the Blackhawks, Strome racked up 13 points and received a significant increase in ice time, averaging 16:54 minutes per game. He also got paired up with his friend and Erie Otter linemate Alex DeBrincat.

Their chemistry was off the charts and it created some memorable moments throughout the season. A few goals even reminded me of Henrik and Daniel Sedin’s uncanny ability to find each other through a maze of defenders, sometimes without even looking:

The pair played 481:24 minutes together at 5-on-5 and generated 4.1 scoring chances and 1.4 high-danger chances per game.

In addition to capitalizing on an opportunity to reunite with DeBrincat, Strome was an integral piece in the resurgence of the Blackhawks’ power play. He joined Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane, DeBrincat and Erik Gustafsson on the top power play unit. Strome helped Toews distract the defensemen in front and screen the goalie when Kane chose to turn to the slot and take a shot:

If the top of the umbrella formation wasn’t getting any open looks, Strome would make himself an outlet for Kane and DeBrincat on either side of the net looking for a give-and-go or a quick one-touch backdoor play. Strome piled up 12 points on the power play and was a valuable piece of the top unit.

Mixed in all of the tough line-up decisions that lay ahead of the Blackhawks coaching staff at training camp, Strome centering DeBrincat and not interfering with the top unit’s mojo are easy ones.

What’s next?

Strome is entering the final year of his entry-level deal. He will start the 2019-20 season as the second line center with DeBrincat on his right-wing. If Strome continues to play near a 0.88 points-per-game pace over the course of a full season, boosts his speed and first-step acceleration and bumps up his face off winning percentage, he should become one of the young faces of the franchise that general manager Stan Bowman builds the future roster around.


Is Dylan Strome ranked too low, just right or too high?

This poll is closed

  • 36%
    (157 votes)
  • 58%
    Just right
    (250 votes)
  • 5%
    (23 votes)
430 votes total Vote Now

*Advanced stats glossary - All advanced stats courtesy of Natural Stat Trick, Hockey-Reference, Evolving Hockey and Corsica-Hockey

CF% - The percentage of Corsi, which is the number of shots attempts (goals, shots on net, misses or blocks), that are in Chicago’s favor when Player X or Line X is on the ice. Above 50% suggests Player X or Line X spend the majority of their time on the ice possessing the puck and generating shots and scoring chances.

HDCF% - Percentage of total high danger scoring chances, while Player X is on the ice, that are for that player’s team.

dZS% - The frequency of Player X starting their shift in the defensive zone.

TOI%_QoC - The weighted average TOI% of opponents that Player X has to defend at even strength. If Player X is frequently defending against the top 6 forward group of the opposing team, their TOI%_QoC is right around or above 29.0-percent. If Player X is consistently defending bottom 6 forwards from the opponent, their TOI%_QoC is closer to 28.0 and below.

iSCF - Individual scoring chances generated by Player X.