The Capitals lost-badly-on Sunday afternoon, but the game wasn’t entirely without bright spots. Dylan Strome tallied his 58th point, setting a new career high for the 26-year-old center.
He earned the point with a goal midway through the second period with a skillful deflected shot.
Strome picked up the puck from an Alex Ovechkin pass at the blue line, taking it into the offensive zone alone. At the goal line, Strome banked the puck off of Igor Shesterkin’s right leg. The puck caromed off of Shesterkin, slipping into the net to cut the Capitals’ deficit to two.
The milestone marker came in Strome’s first season with the Capitals, after he signed with the team as an unrestricted free agent this past summer. Strome’s previous career high came during the 2018-19 season when he scored 57 points with the Arizona Coyotes and Chicago Blackhawks in his first full season in the NHL.
Dylan Strome scores his 19th goal of the season to cut the deficit to 3-1. With the goal, Strome (19g-39a–58p in 76 GP) has established a new single-season career high in points (previously 2018-19: 20g-37a–57p in 78 GP w/ Arizona & Chicago).
— CapitalsPR (@CapitalsPR) April 2, 2023
While the Capitals have floundered, Strome has provided valuable contributions to his new team this season. He ranks second on the team in points, outscored only by Alex Ovechkin.
On a team decimated by injury, Strome has stepped up in an elevated role, playing regularly in both the top six and on the power play. Since the All-Star break, he leads the team in points with 22. He’s earned 11 points in his last 10 games, a span where the Capitals have won only two games.
His performance on the one-year ‘prove it’ deal has clearly impressed Capitals management as Strome signed a five-year, $25 million extension in February.
After Sunday’s game, Capitals head coach Peter Laviolette praised Strome’s play this season.
“He’s played well,” said Laviolette. “I think that those numbers reflect actually how he’s played. He’s been a top-6 player for us and been effective on the power play and has come in and done a nice job. I think that building off of what he had last year…I think that that’s what we were hoping for and expecting.”
Strome reiterated his gratitude for an opportunity with the Capitals when he spoke postgame.
“It’s a great team to come into, to carve out a role and find that identity,” he said. “There are lots of really good players here so I’m fortunate to play with some good players and get an opportunity to play on the power play, things like that. Those are things I’ll take into next season and look forward to that when it comes.”
When it came to his own milestone, however, Strome downplayed his achievement.
“I don’t think anyone’s really thinking about that right now,” he said. “Obviously it’s just a tough loss. It was a tough game.”
After the Coyotes drafted him third overall in 2015, Strome had a somewhat slow start to his NHL career. He spent two additional seasons with the OHL’s Erie Otters and part of a year with the AHL’s Tucson Roadrunners, even participating in the AHL’s All-Star Classic in 2018.
Strome regained some stability with several years on the Blackhawks but left the team after Chicago failed to tenure him a qualifying offer, making him a UFA. Now, it seems like he’s found a home in Washington.
— Washington Capitals (@Capitals) April 2, 2023
Headline photo: Alan Dobbins/RMNB
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