The Washington Capitals decided to take a calculated risk this offseason, inking Dylan Strome to a one-year, $3.5 million deal as a potential second-line center fill-in for Nicklas Backstrom.
After signing with the Capitals, Strome said he’s excited for a fresh start and is ready to make an impact. And, from the looks of his offseason training, the team should be excited for his debut.
Strome is putting on the moves as he trains with Beyond The Next Level this offseason, and on Friday, showed off some dirty dangles while driving to the net in drills. He looks to be in great shape, was moving his feet and showcasing his speed, quick hands and vision.
— Nick Alberga (@thegoldenmuzzy) August 26, 2022
If he brings that to training camp and the regular season, Washington will see him thrive and even potentially put up a career year.
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Strome is coming off a strong season with the Chicago Blackhawks that saw him dish a career-high 22 goals and 26 assists for 48 points in 69 games. While he did struggle at times with consistency, Strome showed off flashy playmaking, confidence and goal-scoring ability. He also improved on his two-way play.
“I’ve turned into a little bit more reliable than maybe I was at the beginning of my career defensively,” Strome said. “I think I was put into some situations last year where I’d take some face-offs in the defensive zone at key times in games. My face-off numbers got better last year and looking to improve on that this year. So really excited about that. Obviously, I like to produce offense, like to help on the power play where that may be.”
However, despite his year, the Chicago Blackhawks didn’t tender him a qualifying market. For the first time, the 25-year-old hit free agency, where the Capitals picked him up with hopes that he could tap into what made him a third-overall selection in 2015.
Now, heading into the season, Strome faces a tall task as he competes for top-6 minutes and tries to fill Backstrom’s void not just on the second line but also on the power play. He will likely have to battle for that full-time 2C spot with Lars Eller and Connor McMichael, who are both looking to keep their roles as centers this coming season.