The Arizona Coyotes announced on Tuesday that their newly acquired centre Alex Galchenyuk is out “week-to-week” with a lower-body injury.
With Galchenyuk out, it looks like Dylan Strome could become the Coyotes’ temporary second-line centre. Strome centred the top-line in Monday’s preseason game with the Coyotes’ projected second-line wingers (Brendan Perlini and Christian Fischer) flanking him. This is a sign that head coach Rick Tocchet is looking at him to takeover for Galchenyuk to open the 2018-19 season.
Strome has been a disappointment at the NHL level to this point in his career, but this would be the biggest opportunity of his young career. Strome spent the majority of last season with the Tucson Roadrunners (AHL) where he tallied 22 goals and 31 assists (53 points) in 50 games. Upon being called up to the Coyotes, he was limited to nine points (4G / 5A) in 21 contests. However, this is the same Dylan Strome that had 75 points (22G / 53A) in 35 games in his final year with the Erie Otters (OHL). The same Dylan Strome that was labeled as an “offensive dynamo” and a player “who wants to win more than anybody else” and compared to Ryan Getzlaf during his draft year.
It’s easy to forget that he is just 21-years-old and capable of breaking out at any time. An early-season look doesn’t make him a must-draft sleeper, but a hot-start could go a long way towards a breakout 2019 campaign. If Galchenyuk hadn’t been hurt, Strome likely would have started with diminished minutes on the Coyotes’ third-line with Christian Dvorak and Michael Grabner—a supremely less coveted spot than with Perlini and Fischer.