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Strome On Mission With Capitals, Wants Chicago To Regret Letting Him Walk

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Washington Capitals Dylan Strome

ARLINGTON, V.A. — On the ice at MedStar Capitals Iceplex, Dylan Strome smiles as he up for drills, a fan of the intensity to open Washington Capitals training camp. It is the perfect way to kick of 2022-23 for Strome, who faces the biggest season of his career so far.

Looking back at a busy summer that saw him explore the open market, move from Chicago to Arlington and get married, Strome said that he is a new player and on a mission this season to show what he can do. Not just for himself but for those watching him. And that includes the Chicago Blackhawks, who didn’t make him a qualifying offer this offseason despite dishing 22 goals and 48 points in 69 games in 2021-22.

“I think there’s always something to prove,” Strome said matter-of-factly. “You know, when a team kind of walks away from you, giving you up for nothing, you obviously have a little bit of a chip on your shoulder and want to prove that they made a mistake.

“They’re doing a pretty big retool over there and they got rid of a lot of guys so you can’t take it too personally, but it’s a business and they made a business decision. And that’s the way it goes. I’m excited to be in Washington. It was an interesting process of that free agency, but I’m happy it got done,” Strome said.

In his still-young career, Strome doesn’t believe he’s unlocked his full potential left. After going third overall to the Arizona Coyotes in 2015, Strome wasn’t able to truly find his footing or live up to expectations in the Desert. Then, when he was traded to Chicago, he had to jump right into the lineup and try and prove himself in the middle of the season, and though he made strides, there’s still room for growth.

“I was kind of just thrown right into the fire right away,” Strome recalled.

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The 6-3, 200-pound forward is a versatile player who is comfortable playing center or either side of the wing. He has a high hockey IQ and quick hands, but he does need to improve in the skating department as well. That will be something the Capitals will look forward to this season as they begin the campaign with Nicklas Backstrom, Tom Wilson and Carl Hagelin up front.

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With Washington, Strome not only believes that he can build on his skill set, but finally get a chance to win after being with teams like Arizona and Chicago. He has just one playoff run — which spanned nine games in the bubble — over almost eight years in the NHL.

“It’s fast-paced, it’s high-intensity, I think,” Strome said of the team culture. “There’s a mindset in the locker room with these guys that we want to be a good team. We want to be a competitive team who makes a good run. It’s my first experience seeing something like that, so I’m excited. It’s been a lot of fun so far.”

No. 17 is also looking forward to working with head coach Peter Laviolette and believes that he can grow a lot under his coaching style.

“I think he’s a good communicator, he’s intense. That’s a common theme here, I guess,” Strome added with a laugh. “He demands a lot of his players and he earned that respect over his career and it’s an honor to play for him.”

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To start his tenure in D.C., Strome is on the second-line left wing alongside Connor McMichael and Anthony Mantha. He has played with Mantha before at the IIHF Worlds, and from what he’s seen of McMichael, he’s “very skilled.” The forward said he’ll see how the lines shake up going forward, but ultimately, getting a chance to be a consistent top-6 forward is something that drew him to the Capitals and has also meant a lot for him on a career level and personal level.

“It’s just what you want as a player. I think it’s how you want to relied upon to create offense and win hockey games,” Strome said. “I think when you’re on a team that demands winning and demands a lot of the guys to put up the points and put up goals and create chances and help your team win, I think it’s always a positive. That’s what you want to be as a hockey player.”

Going forward, Strome is ready to prove his worth. He is on a one-year deal at $3.5 million and will be a RFA at the end of 2022-23. However, he hopes to change the narrative and earn another deal. And if not that, at least show that he’s the real deal at this level.

“[I’m just] working hard every day and trying to prove myself as a legitimate good NHL player,” Strome said.

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