Three days after inking Maksim Sushko, one of the Flyers’ two 2017 fourth-round draft picks, Ron Hextall has gone ahead and signed the other one. Hamilton Bulldogs winger Matthew Strome has signed an entry-level contract, per the team:
The #Flyers have signed LW Matthew Strome to an entry-level contract.https://t.co/C7SaASbbVo— Philadelphia Flyers (@NHLFlyers) March 15, 2018
Strome, taken one pick before Sushko in June’s draft, has 68 points (37 goals, 31 assists) in 64 games for Hamilton in this season, his third in the OHL. That production is a slight step up from his draft season, in which he tallied 62 points in 66 games.
A player with clear offensive talent and smarts, Strome fell to the fourth round primarily due to concerns about his skating, which, to put it mildly, is bad. The Flyers will continue working with him on his skating, and if they can ever help him figure that out, there’s clear top-9 upside given Strome’s skill on the puck. He’ll play one more year with Hamilton before joining the professional ranks on his three-year deal, so the Flyers figure to have three or four more years to work with him on it.
Strome, whose two brothers Ryan and Dylan were top-5 picks that are currently in the NHL, was ranked No. 23 in our mid-season 25 Under 25 rankings from last January.
With Strome’s signing, the Flyers (per CapFriendly) have 39 players under NHL contract for next season. Strome, Sushko, and Isaac Ratcliffe’s will all most likely slide a year, while Morgan Frost’s probalby will as well. Still, the docket is getting crowded for the Flyers, who can only have 50 non-slide rule NHL contracts on the team at a time. We’ll have to see what other decisions they’ll be forced to make this summer because of it.