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Last summer, the Washington Capitals inked Center Dylan Strome to a one-year, $3.5 million deal after the former third overall pick was non-tendered by the Chicago Blackhawks. The then-25-year old went on to have a career season offensively, and was signed to a five-year deal to keep him in Washington.
Before last season, the potential for the Caps’ flyer on Strome to pay off was strong, and through the first seven games of the 2023-24 season, the Mississauga, Ontario native continues to justify Washington’s investment in him.
In 81 games played last season, Strome recorded a career-best 23 goals, 42 assists, and 65 points, averaging 16:41 of ice time a night for former head coach Peter Laviolette. In the seven games the Caps have played this season, Strome has scored five goals (including two, two-goal performances), a team-high, a plus-2 rating, and is averaging a career-best 17:30 of ice time per game for the team’s new bench boss Spencer Carbery, whose trust in Strome has been rewarded.
“It’s very encouraging but also very important for the rest of our group to recognize that”, said Carbery of Strome’s play and the areas in which he has scored a good number of his goals [in close proximity to the opposing netminder], “We continue to stress it and talk about it…we still have a lot of work to do on our 5-on-5 scoring, finishing, how we make it more difficult on d-zone coverages, goaltenders, defensemen.”
“…The Strome point that you make, emphasizes that and shows why it’s important to get into that area, whether it’s off the rush or in the offensive zone…”
Dylan Strome has five goals in his last four games pic.twitter.com/KlVe9C6Jix
— Washington Capitals (@Capitals) October 27, 2023
Strome’s flaming start to the new campaign comes on the heels of a 31.3% shooting percentage, which over the course of an 82-game season is probably unsustainable. That being said, the continued productivity of the third overall selection in the 2015 NHL Entry Draft (by Arizona) reaffirms Washington’s faith that the 26-year old can be a lineup fixture going forward.
By Michael Fleetwood