Draft Dogs | Lead Up to the NHL Draft with Ryan Strome

The 2018 NHL Draft is upcoming on June 22nd. Each week, to get insights into their draft experiences, we will be catching up with players who have been drafted while playing for the IceDogs.

This week, we caught up with former IceDogs captain, forward Ryan Strome.

The Mississauga native spent his minor midget season with the Toronto Marlboros. He posted 41 goals and 104 points in 76 games. His impressive season led to Barrie drafting him 8th overall in the 2009 OHL Priority Selection Draft. Strome joined the IceDogs via the trade that sent Alex Pietrangelo to the Barrie Colts.

Ryan spent 4 seasons with the IceDogs, amassing 281 points over 191 games. Those numbers sit 2nd in franchise history, and he ranks first in all-time assists.

Strome was drafted 5th overall in the 2011 NHL Entry Draft by the New York Islanders.

Q: What was like it like going into your Draft year, and all the excitement that goes along with it? Did it feel any different from previous seasons?

A: Yes 100% it felt different. The way I prepared in the summer was like no other summer in my life.  Just the training, eating, working on your skills.  It’s a huge season that can ultimately be a great stepping stone for your life and luckily for me it all sort of paid off thus far.

Q: In the lead-up to the Draft, there’s talk about who’s ranked where, and who’s going to be picked in that position. What was that like for you?

A: I didn’t worry about the rankings too much. Me and Dougie Hamilton were both going through it so we would talk, but at the end of the day, it only takes one team to like you.  From the moment your selected that team is really the one you care about and the rankings kind of go out the window. 

Q: Take us through Draft day, what was that experience like for you?

A: Draft Day was crazy. It’s such a busy and exciting week. Not knowing where a potentially large chunk of your life could be spent and anxiously waiting to find out is pretty hectic. I’m glad I got to enjoy it for my brothers and sit in the passenger seat and take in how awesome the draft experience really is.

Q: Talk about that moment, when you hear what team it is, and being able to share that with your family when the news comes out.

A: It’s one of the best feelings that you’ll never remember.  Thank god for YouTube because the whole thing happens so quick it’s like a blur. 

Q: How did you approach the season after being drafted, now that you’re part of an organization and the pressure of your draft year is over.

A: I found it to be a lot different.  I think with the pressure off of so many teams you’re able to focus on your junior team, working on what your NHL team wants and try to make the world junior team. It was definitely different.

Q: During your time with the IceDogs you represented Canada at the World Juniors. How did it feel to put on that jersey and medal in the tournament?

A: World Juniors was awesome. It’s really too bad we didn’t win because we had some heartbreaks and some crazy games but even without winning I’d say representing Canada, in Canada, will go down as one of the best hockey moments in my life.

Q: Both of your brothers are part of NHL organizations now. Will it add a little extra motivation to win those games when you inevitably line up against them?

A: You always want to win when you face your siblings but you want them to do well just as much so, it’s a little funny.  I found the two times we have played each other to be super weird for me, being a fan but also a competitor at the same time.

Q: What was it like playing in your first NHL game with the Islanders? Was it an “I made it” type of feeling?

A: My first NHL game felt like a long time coming. I was told I was getting called up a week before I actually played and it felt like a year. I was so excited but nervous. It was a total dream come true. Knowing a lot of the guys on the team beforehand made it a lot easier and all I wanted to do was be a part of the team and be one of the guys. 

Q: What advice would you give to the IceDogs eligible for this year’s draft?

A:  I would say just enjoy it. Try as much as you can to soak it in and look around, take pictures, have fun. Really at the end of the day, people from 1stoverall to not even being drafted have all different sorts of ups and downs and some guys don’t even make it.  It’s just another stop on the long journey we have all taken since we were young kids. It’s a dream come true but everyone has a different route.

Q: Is there an NHL player you try to model your game after or someone you’ve looked up to?

A: I have been lucky to always seem to have great leaders on my teams.  From when I came into the OHL in Barrie, then obviously Niagara, to NY and now Edmonton I’ve been lucky. Kyle Clifford, Andrew Agozzino, John Tavares, Connor McDavid. All fantastic role models, great players and even better people. Those guys are successful for a reason and good friends of mine. To see guys like that every day on the teams I was on was enough motivation for me to bring it every day.

So there you have it, another behind-the-scenes look at the NHL Draft experience with former IceDogs captain Ryan Strome. He will be back for his second season with the Edmonton Oilers this fall and will be looking to lead them back to the postseason. Stay tuned for more draft profiles leading up to the NHL Draft on June 22nd.

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