Dylan Strome found himself a bit of a home in Chicago’s middle-six forward group since being acquired by the club in 2018. In his 156 games with Chicago, he has scored 38 goals and 68 assists for 106 points. Being in the Windy City with his good friend and former junior teammate, Alex DeBrincat, unlocked his true potential in today’s league. Three seasons later and the 24-year-old forward finds himself subject to trade rumours. Jonathan Toews and Kirby Dach should both be ready to play come training camp this fall. They will likely take the top two spots on the centre depth chart. Strome probably becomes a third line forward in this scenario, but it isn’t a total lock.
Stan Bowman is still in rebuilding mode, and that means there are plenty of players who could be sent out in a trade. There was a point when Strome was seen as untouchable, almost impossible to move on from considering his ceiling and performance. After a mediocre performance last season, however, and an expansion draft this summer, a move seems possible now. Today we’re going to take a look at how a Dylan Strome trade would look for Chicago.
How a Dylan Strome Trade would Look for Chicago
If Bowman were to make a deal for the forward this summer, there would certainly be some line shuffling. Currently, CapFriendly has Strome listed as the third left-winger on the team’s depth charts. His play at centre this season wasn’t too strong, so a bump to the wing may be coming. Besides, it’s not like he never played wing before, he’s always swapped roles in Chicago and previously for the Arizona Coyotes too. Losing a winger that, in a good year, can score 40-plus points, will surely require some reshuffling. If Strome moves on, the likely replacement as a left-winger and breakout forward for Chicago is Brandon Hagel. He showed great strides in his game bouncing around the bottom six, playing a strong two-way game with great offensive upside. Alexander Nylander will shift into the hole created on the fourth line, but won’t be tethered to playing just fourth-line minutes.
Losing a 40-point player might also constitute calling up another rookie to be an extra forward. Mike Hardman could be that player. The winger played eight games with Chicago this season. Despite only scoring three points, he was an energetic and physical presence on the fourth line. He was overall a net positive each shift he played and made an impression on the coaching staff. Meanwhile, another call-up candidate could be newly acquired forward Henrik Borgstrom. Either that or the Blackhawks could switch Pius Suter back to the wing to replenish the quality lost there. Needless to say, all of the options Bowman has at his disposal give the lineup some flexibility and depth.
Strome is a valuable piece to any team in the NHL. A contending team could use him in a depth forward role and play him on the power play. A rebuilding or bottom-feeder team could build a lineup around him with Strome as an ancillary piece to a superstar player. Despite his stagnant production this year, he is a versatile forward for a team to acquire if the price is right. And the price for Strome might be more than just a mid-round pick. At 24 years old Strome has plenty of ceiling to grow into his prime potential. He’s also young and has already proven skill, something valuable that not every 24-year-old forward has. His team-friendly contract is something that teams can easily take on, with a $3 million cap hit through this season.
With all of that in mind, there are a few packages that Strome could bring back in a trade. First off could be a one-for-one deal with a trade partner. For example, Andrew Mangiapane could be a realistic return for him in this scenario. Strome is the younger player with a similar cap hit, similar ceiling, and similar point production so Calgary would surely be tempted. What’s more, with neither team losing draft stock, it’s an even-strength deal. The second package could see Strome traded away for two draft picks, likely between the second and fourth round of the draft. Much like the Mattias Janmark trade, draft picks are a valued asset for Chicago in their rebuild. Bringing in two or even one, second or third-round pick instantly gives the team leverage for future deals and gives them more draft stock for the future.
The Hawks Defence
The Hawks could also look to pick up a defenceman in a Strome trade, beefing up the blue line. The reality is that Duncan Keith is not getting any younger. Brent Seabrook is unlikely to play another game in a Blackhawks uniform. Meanwhile, Calvin de Haan and Connor Murphy are unrestricted free agents after next season. With all of these moving parts, could Strome be a key piece in a package for a top-pair defender? It is certainly something that can be explored.
Does a Trade Make Sense?
A Dylan Strome trade has its pros and its cons. A pro could be freeing up space for Borgstrom or another young player, maybe Lucas Reichel, to step up and take on an important role in the lineup. After all, Stan Bowman himself said he is trying to prioritize youth development during this rebuilding process. A con however is losing the chemistry shared between Strome and DeBrincat on the power play, something that isn’t easily replaced and might never be replicated by another player in Strome’s place.
With the flat cap still coming into play for this season, any amount of cap space will be highly valuable. It’ll be especially valuable if the Blackhawks are in a playoff race like they were at this past trade deadline. It could also lead to signing a free agent they otherwise wouldn’t have been able to sign due to the cap that Strome takes.
The likelihood of a deal being made is unknown, but Stan Bowman isn’t the most predictable general manager. He could either go all in and stick to the plan and have Strome in the team’s future. Or he could just as easily trade him away and move on from this little project. Whichever way the situation stacks up, Strome is going to be a player to watch going into his contract season this fall.
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