The Islanders Might Make Ryan Strome a Winger

Kevin Schultz

It’s been talked about by fans probably since he was drafted but now the fantasy coaching may become reality; the Islanders are considering moving Ryan Strome to the wing.

It shows how far the organization’s depth has come, that a center selected with the #5 overall pick in 2011 may actually be moved away from his natural position. With John Tavares slotted in the number one center slot for the forseeable future and Frans Nielsen, Peter Regin, Casey Cizikas already on the roster plus Brock Nelson and Johan Sundstrom expected to make a push at training camp, the Islanders are chock full of centers. The team even has one success story of moving from center to wing on it, as Josh Bailey has excelled on the wing while he looked lost at center.

Over at NHL.com, Brian Compton has an excellent writeup on Strome that you really should read. It includes this quote, where Strome acknowledges that he’s been alerted to be ready for the wing, which he was already doing in Bridgeport last season (he played on Brock Nelson’s wing on the top line):

“They asked me if I’m comfortable at both [wing and center],” Strome said. “I played 8-10 games at Bridgeport on the wing, and that definitely makes you comfortable. I think I can feel comfortable at each position, which is good. I think the more versatile you are, the more useful you can be.”

Capuano said he’s considering moving Strome to the wing.

For Strome, it makes sense to only keep him on the roster if he’s capable of playing a top-six role otherwise a start to the season in Bridgeport is a better fit. There’s no reason to have him slog through minimal minutes in a reduced role on Long Island (where have we seen that fail before?). And, if we make the leap that Strome stays on the roster in that top-six role, really the only place for him is on a wing. Possibly, hopefully, maybe not this year but someday soon, on John Tavares’ right wing.

One of the other interesting quotes from Compton’s story is that Strome sounds totally unintimidated by the AHL. Most players usually recite how much faster and tougher the jump to a pro league is from juniors. Strome didn’t quite feel that way:

“Honestly, it wasn’t too bad as I thought,” Strome told NHL.com Tuesday when the Islanders opened their prospect minicamp at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum. “Playing in juniors is a lot like pro hockey — the style and the lifestyle. I think that’s one of the easiest adjustments. I was playing every day, almost. It wasn’t too hard. Living on my own was a little bit different, and the guys are bigger and stronger, but overall I think I adapted pretty well.”

On the wing in Bridgeport Strome had seven points in 10 games to end the season, so even if he does start the season in the AHL it seems like he may not be there for very long.