After Years Of Searching, Strome Has Found Home With Capitals: ‘Thankful A Team Believed In Me’
Washington Capitals forward Dylan Strome signed a five-year extension over the All-Star Break, and the biggest appeal to him was finally having a team that believes in him.
ARLINGTON, V.A. — It's been a long, winding road for Dylan Strome. The 25-year-old had been searching for the right fit for what seemed like years, and it wasn't just about salary or playing heavy minutes. All he was asking for was trust and a team that trusted him, believed in him and — most importantly — wanted him. He found that in his first season with the Washington Capitals, and he'll continue to carry that over the next five years.
Strome signed a five-year, $25 million extension with the Capitals over the All-Star Break, and after years of searching, he finally has a club that he feels at home with as he enters the prime years of his career.
"I think I just got a team that saw something in me and believes like myself that I'm only going to get better over the next five years," Strome said. "They put the faith in me, and I'm going to continue to grow and become a better player. I'm looking forward to it. I signed with a team that believes in me enough to sign me to that deal, and I'm really excited about it. I'm really happy to be here."
Of course, Strome had options. As a pending free agent, he could have very well explored the market if he really wanted to. However, he chose to stay in D.C. for a variety of reasons, but the biggest was stability and the chance to stay in one place for an extended period of time.
“I think just the course of my career has kind of been, I’ve bounced around a little bit. Obviously, with Arizona not working out and things happened in Chicago… you're kind of coming in and out of the lineup and when someone offers you that, that’s obviously something great to hear," Strome said. "When they reached out, obviously very excited, really looking forward to it and just thankful a team believed in me. It’s been 50 games, but I’m excited for five more years.
“I think just, you know, a team that opportunity never arose in those other places where I got the chance to sign a longer-term deal," Strome added. "Totally different times in my life, things like that. So like I said, [it's] a team that believes in me, and I’m really happy to be a Capital and it’s exciting. This year and five more, so really looking forward to it.”
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Washington has been something of a perfect fit for Strome so far. Through 52 games, he has 11 goals and 25 assists for 36 points, good for third on the team in scoring. He is also thriving in a top-line role with the Capitals and has spent the majority of the season centering Alex Ovechkin, which Strome said has helped him excel.
"I mean, playing with Number 8 helps… I think we connect well together. We had Shears for a little while and we’ve kind of been juggling around a little bit here. But you know, I think just his attention to detail and the way he shoots the puck and then gets open and kind of demands the best of his linemates, I think that’s something that every player wants," Strome said. "I had the same thing with Patrick Kane in Chicago, and they’re very similar in the fact that they demand a lot of their linemates and they’re great players, and they want other players around them to be great. And I think he gets that from a lot of the players that he plays with. And you know, it’s fun to play with a guy like that. I liked my time in Chicago with Kaner doing that and you know, I feel like they’re very similar in that sense.”
Not only that, but Strome's playing style also fits well with the Capitals' systems, with also appealed to him signing a long-term deal.
“I think I just like the way they play, the style of the game, you know? We focus a lot on offense. Obviously, we got great defensemen and great goaltending which has been constant this year, and then we really talked about offense a lot and new ways to score… I think just a lot of new offensive plays," Strome said. "They take pride in the power play here. There’s lots of meetings that go on about it and things like that. So I think the offensive side is something that looks great to me and it’s been an easy fit for me so far, and I’m excited to extend that."
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Looking ahead to the coming years, Strome will be playing a vital role and be relied on for offense with the veteran core aging and a number of key forwards set to hit free agency. No. 17 is looking forward to taking on that responsibility and believes that he will grow into a leader and help the club maintain its winning pedigree.
“Yeah I think that’s obviously something that goes into when you sign long-term, but at the same time, I think there’s aspirations for this team a lot sooner than that, and I think we’re building towards that," Strome said.