When the Chicago Blackhawks acquired Dylan Strome almost three years ago (alongside Brendan Perlini) for Nick Schmaltz, the former third overall pick hit it off immediately with his longtime buddy in Alex DeBrincat. He put up an impressive 51 points across 58 contests.
Despite missing some games in 2019-20, which resulted from injury, he still put up a respectable 38 points in 58 games played, which was on pace for 54 points in a full 82-game campaign.
The 2021 shortened season was particularly tough for Strome. He put up just 17 points in 40 games, suffered injury setback issues again, and was even marked a healthy scratch on several occasions.
Again, I believe we should be more lenient on players who had off seasons in 2021. We’ve all struggled with the pandemic, even pro hockey players who make millions of dollars. We can’t forget Strome also welcomed a baby girl to the world back in March.
That being said, Strome finds himself on the outside looking in with less than a week before Chicago’s opening game.
Players like Henrik Borgstrom and Adam Gaudette have been more impressive during preseason play and are also cheaper than Strome’s $3 million dollar cap hit, which begs the question, what is Dylan Strome’s future with the Blackhawks? Does he have a spot on this team? If so, where? If he gets traded, what can Chicago get for him? He only has one more year left on his contract.
In a recent 31 (now 32) thoughts podcast, Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman said he was surprised the Blackhawks held on to the centreman and that there wasn’t a deal the front office liked enough to trade him.
What Chicago would want for Strome, I have no idea. But what I think they need to do is either play him, or trade him. Scratching him every other game won’t help his confidence, or to build line chemistry. It probably won’t help his trade value either.
With Colin White’s long-term injury, maybe Ottawa is a target?
Strome is not the perfect player. He’s not a fast skater, nor a good defensive player, but he’s a solid playmaker who can fit in a middle-six role.
Regardless of what happens, the Blackhawks are going to have to make some tough decisions in the next few days.