Late on day two of free agency, the Washington Capitals announced another major free agent signing. The team inked Dylan Stromeformerly with the Chicago Blackhawks, to a one-year, $3.5 million contract.
Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman was the first to break the news.
Sounds like Dylan Strome on WASH, 1 x $3.5 million. The interest was great
— Elliotte Friedman (@FriedgeHNIC) July 14, 2022
In 69 beautiful games last season, the six-foot-tall Strome scored 22 goals and scored 48 points. The 22 goals was a career high. Strome focused on Alex DeBrincat and Patrick Kane for most of the season.
The 25-year-old Strome was not made a qualifying offer by the rebuilding Chicago Blackhawks, making him an unrestricted free agent.
According to reports, Dylan Strome will not be made a qualifying offer, making him an unrestricted free agent.
He’s an interesting option, a solid playmaker with efficient shots who can drive the game well. Played difficult second-line minutes. It is definitely worth watching. #Blackhawks pic.twitter.com/tGGCYGjbYX
— JFresh (@JFreshHockey) July 10, 2022
Strome, who plays second row in Chicago, becomes an instant favorite to replace Nicklas Backstrom in the short term after GM Brian MacLellan said he would turn to internal options like Connor McMichael, Hendrix Lapierre or Aliaksei Protas.
“The salary cap is the salary cap,” MacLellan said. “We have to plan for Nick to come back at some point. What we can do is give our young people opportunities. We have a couple of youngsters – McMichael, we hope he takes the next step; Lapierre, we’ll see where he is; Protas comes in and we expect him to make the next jump – and kinda move on from there. It’s not like we can sign a $9.5 million player. We assume Nick will come back at some point. Until this is over we plan for him to come back.”
The Capitals will now face a major dilemma when Backstrom returns mid-season. The team is $5.6 million over the salary cap and would have to make a big deal to house the Swede unless they hold him out until the postseason starts (much like the Lightning did during their championship year with Nikita Kucherov) .
After signing Strome $3.5M per @FriedgeHNIC, #CAPITAL LETTER are $5.6m over cap with a full 23 players (15F/6D/2G) on the projected roster.
Backstrom ($9.2M) to LTIR could have $3.6M in place. However, if Backstrom returns during the season, this space will have to be vacated.https://t.co/8VhsKIcn4f
— PuckPedia (@PuckPedia) July 14, 2022
The signing of Strome coupled with the return of Marcus Johansson also signals that the team’s center prospects could all end up in the AHL for a full season unless other steps are taken. Third-line center Lars Eller is in the final year of his contract ($3.5M AAV) and struggled for parts of last season.
Strome will be a restricted free agent and eligible for arbitration next summer, meaning the Capitals will retain his rights after this season.
Here’s the full release from the Capitals:
Capitals sign Dylan Strome
ARLINGTON, Va.— The Washington Capitals have signed Dylan Strome to a one-year, $3.5 million contract, senior vice president and general manager Brian MacLellan announced today.
The 25-year-old Strome had 48 points (22g, 26a) in 69 games with the Chicago Blackhawks in 2021-22. The 6’1, 200-pound forward posted a career-best 17:26 on the ice last season and a career-best 17:26 in a single season. Strome ranked third on the team in goals and fourth in assists and points.
Originally drafted by the Arizona Coyotes with third overall pick in the 2015 NHL Draft, Strome averaged a career-high 57 points (20g, 37a) in 78 games with Arizona and Chicago in 2018-19. The Mississauga, Ontario native averaged 0.68 points per game in parts of four seasons from 2018-19 to 2021-22 with Chicago, who ranked fifth on the team during that span.
In 273 NHL career games with Arizona and Chicago, Strome has 170 points (67g, 103a).
Internationally, Strome has represented Canada at the 2019 World Championships, where he won a silver medal, and at the 2017 and 2016 World Junior Championships, where he won a silver medal at the 2017 tournament.
Strome was teammate to recently acquired Capitals forward Connor Brown with the Erie Otters of the Ontario Hockey League (OHL) during the 2013–14 season.
Headline photo: @thegoldenstromes/IG