This past Wednesday, the Ottawa 67’s defeated the Hamilton Bulldogs 7-2 to complete a four-game sweep in round one of the OHL playoff. As the Bulldogs 208-19 campaign came to an end, so did the OHL career of Flyers prospect Matthew Strome.
The youngest Strome brother began his Ontario Hockey League career in 2015 when the Hamilton Bulldogs selected him with the eighth overall pick in the OHL Priority Selection. In the season prior, Strome captained the Toronto Marlboros Mn Midget AAA win the OHL Cup. He posted 23 goals and 37 assists that year.
Strome’s first season in Hamilton was nothing to go crazy over. His 16 goals and 22 assists through 61 games translate into a solid-enough rookie season and set the foundation for a successful OHL career.
The following season, 2016-17, proved to be Strome’s coming out party for the Hamilton Bulldogs. His production improved greatly, especially in the goal-scoring department. Strome went from posting 16 goals in his rookie year to recording 34 the following season. In total, the Mississauga, Ontario native piled up 62 points in 66 games. Additionally, Strome made the Canada U-18 team and recorded three points in five games during the WJC-18. The youngster’s breakout year caught the attention on Flyers then-GM Ron Hextall and the Flyers selected him in the fourth round (106-overall) in the 2017 NHL Entry Draft.
Now apart of an NHL franchise’s farm system and being labeled a “poor skater“, a lot more eyes were on Strome during his 2017-18 campaign. The young forward did not disappoint, recording 68 points in 65 games. His goal number increased to 37 while his assist number crept up to 31. To top all of that off, the Hamilton Bulldogs were crowned champions of the OHL.
Strome’s final year in Hamilton, 2018-19, not only saw an appointment to team captain but was also his final chance to silents non-believers. Once again, Strome put the pedal to the metal and demonstrated his offensive dominance. However, this year his playmaking ability was on display more than ever before. Strome assisted on 51 goals and added 28 of his own. In total, he produced 79 points in 68 games, making his last OHL season his best. Although his team’s playoff life was short-lived, Strome added four points in four games to his resume.
What’s Next for Matthew Strome?
Now that Strome’s tenure in the OHL is through, it is time for the next step in his journey to the NHL. Already signed to his entry-level contract, Strome will most definitely be a part of the Lehigh Valley Phantoms next season. However, it is possible that he is signed to an ATO and plays some games in the AHL this year.
Patience is necessary when looking at a prospect like Matthew Strome. He has all the skills necessary to be a productive middle-six forward in Philadelphia. However, he should not be rushed. Allowing time for him to develop in Lehigh Valley will only help his overall development. Although a midseason call-up to Philadelphia is not out of the cards next season, expect him to be in serious contention for a roster spot in 2020-21.