Dylan Strome won’t be a center for the Blackhawks with Jonathan Toews and Kirby Dach coming back by next season.
Dylan Strome has incredible offensive potential for the Chicago Blackhawks and earned a 57.1% face-off percentage vs Tampa Bay.
He can create for himself and his linemates when given the opportunity, but he wasn’t given much of a chance to do so until there was about 1 minute 30 seconds left on the clock.
He could switch to wing and bump Brandon Hagel back to the third line permanently with Carl Soderberg and Philipp Kurashev. Get used to the position now so he can play the position when the Blackhawks’ top two centers come back. He doesn’t have the defensive awareness to play on the bottom six, so wing looks to be the only option for him at the moment.
But then I remembered that Pius Suter would probably switch to wing next season as well. This could work but, though Suter can play on the bottom nine, I don’t think that’s where he will succeed the most.
The Blackhawks could also trade him, but what would they really get in return? Stan Bowman doesn’t have a good track record when it comes to this kind of thing, so the Blackhawks may hold on to him. Maybe Bowman could trade him to a young, impactful defender but that doesn’t seem likely given the lack of trade value Strome currently holds and how valuable impactful, young defenders are.
Bowman may just trade Strome for a couple draft picks and put the odds in the hands of his scouting department who have drafted gems in each draft as of late. Prospects are also an option, but I would rather the Blackhawks choose their own projects instead of taking others on via trade. They have much better luck in their draft with Philipp Kurashev, Alex Debrincat, Ian Mitchell, etc. appearing to be part of the Blackhawks core for the future.
To conclude, the Blackhawks may have to trade Dylan Strome at the deadline due to their logjammed forward group. He doesn’t have enough defensive awareness to play on the bottom six and Suter will most likely come back in the offseason to occupy a winger position on the second line.
They could keep him until the offseason when Toews’ return is confirmed or not, but that means that he could walk for nothing. Bowman may conclude to get a couple draft picks for him at the deadline if they don’t see him in their plans for the future.