Vancouver Canucks 2017 NHL Draft Profile: LW Matthew Strome

Jun 26, 2015; Sunrise, FL, USA; Brock Boeser walks to the stage after being selected as the number twenty-three overall pick to the Vancouver Canucks in the first round of the 2015 NHL Draft at BB&T Center. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports
Jun 26, 2015; Sunrise, FL, USA; Brock Boeser walks to the stage after being selected as the number twenty-three overall pick to the Vancouver Canucks in the first round of the 2015 NHL Draft at BB&T Center. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports /

The Vancouver Canucks are preparing for the 2017 NHL Entry Draft — and so are we.

Once again the Vancouver Canucks failed to secure a spot in the NHL playoffs. So, instead of competing for the Stanley Cup, Canucks GM Jim Benning and his staff will use the upcoming months to prepare next season’s roster. Now that the organisation is officially in a ‘transition period’, the 2017 NHL Entry Draft will be of utmost importance.

A four-game winning streak to start the 2016-17 season gave fans hope for the playoffs. But — blame the coach, the roster, injuries or anything else — unfortunately, the team was unable to play competitively for an entire season. With that, they are guaranteed another high draft pick this year.

Here at The Canuck Way, we will do our best to prepare you for the upcoming draft by profiling as many eligible players as we possibly can. Keep in mind that we are not saying these are players the Canucks are targeting. Instead, these are players that we think the Canucks could or should have interest in.

This year’s draft seems wide-open, with no real consensus in any of the seven rounds. So, it will certainly be interesting to see who will put on a Vancouver Canucks jersey come June.

Our focus today is left wing Matthew Strome, from the OHL’s Hamilton Bulldogs!

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Name: Matthew Strome

Position: Left wing

Shoots: Left

Birthdate: 1999-01-06

Height, weight: 6’3, 201 lbs

Team, league: Hamilton Bulldogs, OHL

Stats (from 






66 34 28 62 62 9


#27 by Future Considerations
#33 by NHL Central Scouting (NA Skaters)

Risk, Reward: 2.5/5, 4/5

NHL-potential: Middle-six winger

Draft Range: Late first to early second round

Scouting report

"A big, skilled winger that plays a complete and consistent game. Battles hard for puck possession and is relentless on both the power play and penalty kill. Plays a hard-nosed game and uses his size to establish his presence around the net. Has good hands, an accurate shot, and zero compromise hockey sense. His skating and overall balance off the rush and in-transition is a work in progress that is continuing to get better by the day. That being said, his vision is excellent and his offensive talent is apparent; he is able to play at a fast pace. Being able to keep up is a big part of that, and, moving forward, he has the potential to develop into a strong two-way winger that is hard to play against and can be relied on in all situations. (Elite Prospects)"


Strome already has an NHL-ready body at age 18, standing 6-foot-3 and weighing just over 200 pounds.

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He uses that size well offensively, crashing the net and making life difficult for defenders — and for goaltenders. Since he earned as many penalty minutes as points in the OHL this season, he obviously is not shy about being involved in the play physically.

But Strome isn’t just a big body, he also is a creative and intelligent hockey player, who can handle the puck well and has a good shot.

He plays well in his own zone as well, blocking shots and passes with his body and an active stick.

Overall, he is a hard worker on the ice, is good in both ends of the rink, and has all the right physical tools to be an NHL player.


There is one glaring deficiency in Strome’s game, and that is his skating. How big of an issue is it? Well, big enough that Sportsnet devoted an entire article to it back in November:

"[One NHL scout said] “technically it’s sort of painful to watch. He has a short, choppy stride. It’s not clear how much you can improve it with added strength and physical maturity.”It doesn’t seem a question of whether his skating will cause him to fall in the draft, only a matter of how far. When asked, scouts gave what is the polite answer: Someone is bound to take him in the first, just not us."

His skating is deficient enough that every scout feels the need to mention it. However, the reports do not agree on how severe that deficiency is. Sportsnet is not terribly optimistic, while Future Considerations suggests Strome’s skating is “not bad”, and should improve as he develops.

Based on his size and gifted hands, Strome projects to be a high-impact player. But all of that hinges on him making drastic improvements in his skating.  In Vancouver, we’ve seen below-average skater Bo Horvat make those kinds of  simply with input from a skating coach. But NHL teams will have to decide whether the problem is technique (which can be solved through practice and coaching) or natural ability (which cannot).

The answer to that question is probably the key to how high, or low, Strome is picked.

Final Thoughts

Strome has an excellent NHL pedigree: his brother Ryan Strome plays with New York Islanders, and Dylan Strome with the Arizona Coyotes. Could Matthew be a fit with the Canucks?

Strome’s skill makes him a first-rounder, but his skating could drop him into the second round. If so, he’ll be available in the range of Vancouver second-round pick, at 33. And he has size, two-way ability and playmaking ability, all of which the Canucks need.

On the other hand, this team does have a few players with similar pedigrees who aren’t living up to expectations. Jordan Subban looks as far from the NHL as ever. Cole Cassels has disappeared. And Brandon Sutter was thought to be a second-line center, but at this point he looks like a bottom-six center at best.

So, the fact that Strome has two brothers in the NHL should not be much of a factor.

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It will likely, again, come down to his skating. The Canucks are in a long-term rebuild, so if it takes three years of development for him to improve his stride, they can wait that long. It all depends on how good they think he will be if and when he makes those improvements.

It looks like there will be several players with at least as much upside available, but without all the questions marks. So, if he is available, the Vancouver Canucks may simply pass him by.