On Friday, the new Winnipeg franchise will make its first ever selection when it picks 7th overall. This week I’ll have profiles of some players they should be looking at.
The Thrashers finished 20th in terms of goals per game last year, scoring just 2.66 per contest. They were 11th in shots per game, so the offense probably isn’t the question mark people think it is (assuming their shooting percentage regresses), but it would still be nice to add some offensive talent.
Enter Strome. He had 33 goals and 106 points in 65 games with the OHL’s Niagara IceDogs this year. He was third in points, but outside the top 10 in goals. Still, with the franchise lacking in depth up the middle, another center wouldn’t hurt.
However, I have a couple of red flags to raise with Strome.
First, he had a huge jump in scoring, going from 8 goals last year to 33 this year, and went from 19 assists to 73 this year. A huge jump could signal him being more mature or adapting to the league or something, but I am always wary of guys with huge jumps because it is impossible to tell what his true talent level is.
The biggest red flag to me though comes from his TSN profile, courtesy of Grant McCagg. Here are his thoughts on Strome’s weaknesses: “Can be a little lackadaisical at times. Work ethic could improve.” It could be that he was taking it easy dominating lesser competition, but given his 2009-10 season I doubt that is the case. I’m not sure I want the potential face of the franchise to be a lazy player. I’ll support talent over a grinder any day of the week, but picking 7th there will be guys who bring both to the table.