Now Dylan Strome Finds Himself on the Blackhawks’ Top Line

It has been a weird season for Dylan Strome. First, he was in and out of the lineup under Jeremy Colliton, a coach that seemed to just plain not like him. Then, after a coaching change, Strome has been given more opportunities under Derek King, but has still found himself in and out of the lineup, even when he’s been generating offense for a team that has one of the worst offensive attacks in the NHL. Now, after Monday night’s game against the Flames was postponed, Strome was centering Alex DeBrincat and Patrick Kane on Chicago’s top-line at their morning skate.

Because, of course he was.

Strome, DeBrincat, and Kane are no strangers to each other in the lineup. First, Strome and DeBrincat were teammates once back in their OHL days with the Erie Otters. But the trio found instant chemistry when Strome came to the Blackhawks during the 2018-19 season. The three of them combined to each have one of their career-best seasons in 2018-19, even though the Blackhawks fell short of the postseason.

With Jonathan Toews and Kirby Dach not living up to their expectations this season, now we see Strome getting the opportunity to once again be paired with the two top forwards on the Chicago roster.

It’s an interesting scenario for Strome and the Blackhawks. At no point this season has it been clear that he is part of the future in Chicago. He’s playing on the final year of a bridge-contract, coming with a $3M AAV cap hit. With his early-season production and lineup spot fluctuating, he had little-to-no trade value. Now in the potential trade market, Strome could be playing himself into one of the top candidates to be moved.

We’ve even thought moving Strome was a good idea at times early this season.

But what if — hear me out — Strome plays so well that the Blackhawks need him in the lineup? If Chicago is in a potential playoff hunt, and Strome is playing well, at what point is his value better to the team on the ice than it is on the trade block?

Of course the Blackhawks would have to actually be in a playoff hunt for it to make sense to not be selling any assets with value at the trade deadline in March. We shall see what, if anything, comes of having Strome playing with Kane and DeBrincat. For now, it’s a reminder to the 24-year-old center that doing the little things for interim head coach Derek King can make a big impact.

written by

Mario Tirabassi is a writer for Bleacher Nation. You can follow him on Twitter @Mario_Tirabassi.

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