Christian Arnold, Islanders Point Blank:UNIONDALE, N.Y. — Ryan Strome played it cool during his time with the media after the Islanders’ morning skate, but it was easy to tell the 20-year-old was excited to be finally making his NHL debut.
“It’s exciting,” Strome said about being called up. “I feel like the carrots been dangling in front of me for a little bit now, especially this last week. I’m eager to get out here and get the puck dropped.”
Stome was officially called up from AHL Bridgeport on Wednesday, but the Islanders coaching staff kept him out of Thursday’s game against Phoenix in order to give him more time to prepare for the NHL. That sets the stage for Strome to make his debut at home against the Montreal Canadiens tonight.
Following the morning skate Islander Head Coach Jack Capuano was not sure what the lines for the game would be. Strome skated with Cal Clutterbuck and Bridgeport Sound Tigers’ teammate Brock Nelson. The pairing would make sense since Nelson and Strome played with one another in Bridgeport and would already have some chemistry together.
Regardless of who he ends up playing with, Strome will be a welcomed addition to the offensively challenged Islanders. Outside of the goal by Eric Boulton against Phoenix and Andrew MacDonald’s in the game against St. Louis, the Isles have not generated secondary scoring in recent games. Adding the former first round pick to the lineup can only increase the chances of secondary scoring kicking in.
“I think just offensive push,” Strome said in response to a question of what he brings to the team. He was the AHL’s leading scorer at the time he was called up won back to back player of the week honors for his play.
“I’m a guy who’s learned how to play pretty responsible in the American League and hopefully I can just adapt those things,” Strome added. “Obviously it’s a transition, but my job is to eliminate that learning curve as much as possible and make the adjustment easier.”
Capuano isn’t expecting to Strome’s first game to be mistake free. In fact the Islander head coach expects him to make a mistake or two.
“He’s going to make some mistakes, but it’s the shift after,” Capuano said. “Just go out and don’t change too much about his game… He’s got some great offensive instincts. He’ll see some power play time for us tonight and he’s going to get his opportunities.”
The Mississauga native will have his mom, dad and brother on hand to watch him make his NHL debut. And to make it even more special, the game is on Hockey Night in Canada. “I grew up watching Hockey Night in Canada, so it’s kind of ironic,” Strome said.