When it comes to Philadelphia Flyers prospects playing in the Ontario Hockey League, two names are always the first to come to mind. On one hand, you have Morgan Frost, the former first-round pick who always seems to be putting on a scoring clinic. On the other hand, you have Isaac Ratcliffe, the 6’6″ forward that has the potential to be a force in the National Hockey League. However, they are not the only noteworthy Flyers prospects in the OHL. Matthew Strome of the Hamilton Bulldogs is playing the best hockey of his young career, putting those watching him on notice.
Philadelphia selected Strome in the fourth round of the 2017 NHL Entry Draft. Similar to his older brothers Dylan and Ryan, the offensive ability has always been there, but his skating ability has been a subject of criticism. Here is a scouting report from Elite Prospects before Strome was drafted:
“A big, skilled winger that plays a complete and consistent game. Battles hard for puck possession and is relentless on both the power play and penalty kill. Plays a hard-nosed game and uses his size to establish his presence around the net. Has good hands, an accurate shot, and zero compromise hockey sense. His skating and overall balance off the rush and in-transition is a work in progress that is continuing to get better by the day. That being said, his vision is excellent and his offensive talent is apparent; he is able to play at a fast pace. Being able to keep up is a big part of that, and, moving forward, he has the potential to develop into a strong two-way winger that is hard to play against and can be relied on in all situations.” (Curtis Joe, EP 2016)
Though Strome’s skating will always be the aspect of his game under a microscope, his offensive numbers continue to impress. Through 13 games this season, Strome has six goals and twelve assists. His 18 points has the 19-year-old winger among the top 20 scorers in the OHL.
Currently, Strome is on a four-game point streak. Not only has he posted a pointed in his last four games, but he has also recorded multiple points in each game. On October 17th, against Owen Sound, Strome recorded four assists, helping the Bulldogs defeat the Attack. This was the first time he posted four helpers in a game in his OHL career.
In past seasons, Strome’s goal-scoring abilities always stood out as his biggest strength. In both 2016-17 and 2017-18, his goal totals surpassed his assist numbers. This year, it appears though that trend might change. Strome currently has double the amount of assists than he does goals. This certainly does not mean he can’t find the back of the net anymore. It is simply demonstrating an increase in his ability as a playmaker.
🚨 BULLDOGS GOOOAL!!
🚨: Brandon Saigeon
🍏🍎: Matt Strome, Arthur Kaliyev
Bulldogs up 3-0 over the Petes! #GoHAM pic.twitter.com/9dW7OmVKwd
— Hamilton Bulldogs (@BulldogsOHL) October 6, 2018
What to Watch For With Matthew Strome
Strome continues to make progress in his all-around game. The offensive skill is there and does not appear to be going anywhere anytime soon. As mentioned before, skating will always be what people are looking at, in regards to Strome. The good news is it’s improving.
Expecting Strome to make the leap from the OHL to the NHL would be foolish. He is still a few years away from playing for the Flyers full-time. However, he will get there. Strome just needs to continue working on his skating and finding ways to make him an even more dynamic point producer.
He may not be the most talked about prospect in the OHL. However, he comes with a ton of potential and his development should be watched closely.
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