A farewell to the Hamilton Bulldogs, a transition to Lehigh Valley Phantoms and work on his skating all on Flyers prospect Matthew Strome's mind


Matthew Strome has remained one of the most talked-about Flyers prospects since being drafted back in 2017. Being the third and final Strome brother to be drafted by an NHL team, all eyes have been on him with high anticipation for his professional debut.

His brothers Ryan (drafted fifth overall in 2011) and Dylan (drafted third overall in 2015) have been a huge help when it comes to questions, confidence — just about anything.

The youngest Strome was projected to go late in the first round during his draft year but wound up falling to the fourth and being selected 106th overall. This was his time to make a name for himself — and to show just what kind of damage he is capable of doing.

That's a wrap with the Bulldogs

In his fourth and final season in the OHL with the Hamilton Bulldogs, Strome certainly went out on a great note. His career high of 79 points (28 goals, 51 assists) was second best for the team. Those 51 assists also put him in the top 20 in the OHL (the only other Flyers prospect to make the top 20 was Morgan Frost, who led the entire league with 72 assists).

While it’s always the goal to go all the way in the playoffs, Hamilton's run ended abruptly after being swept in the first round by the top-seeded Ottawa 67’s.   

Strome took on a leadership role with his young and developing team, which meant a great deal to him — being able to have an impact on his teammates.

“I was comfortable there,” Strome said while at Flyers development camp. “I knew I wanted to play there when I started in the league and I wanted to finish there.”

A taste of the Valley

Strome was eligible to join the Phantoms following his time in the OHL. He was with the Flyers’ AHL affiliate team for its final seven games of the season, though he only dressed for six of them.

Getting used to the city and the rink — it was a big thing for me,” Strome said. “I’m just going to use that when I get there. It’s not going to be new for me since I’ve already had an experience there and I think that’ll help me a lot.

Though he tallied only two assists during the short stint, he also had the lone shootout goal that led the team to its final win of the season.

Making strides

Strome had an overall solid showing at development camp.

What he lacks in skating, he makes up for in physicality. Through the three development camps he's attended and his time in the OHL, he has grown in all aspects of his game. 

Strome has the ability to be lethal in front of the net. The combination of a quick release and accuracy of his shot should be a strong addition for the Phantoms.

In addition to his shooting ability, his size (6-foot-4/205 pounds) helps him with the physical side of his game. His ability to distance himself to get a shot off is only going to improve as his skating does as well.

What's next?

Strome is focusing on strengthening the one kryptonite of his game — skating. He will be taking the ice two to three times a week with Canadian Olympic figure skating icon Barbara Underhill. Underhill has worked with both NHL teams and privately with some of the league's top players, including John Tavares, Auston Matthews, Brayden Point and Brian Boyle to help improve their skating.

Knowing that this is the main area of improvement he needs to focus on while also seeking help to do so indicates Strome's strong sense of maturity at 20 years old. He targets what he wants to fix in his game and it's important to commend that at any level of the sport.

“It's been a knock on me my whole career," he said, "and I’m just trying to change that.”

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