Dougie Hamilton and Ryan Strome are back in junior to lead — not to read about the NHL lockout.
What do 19-year-old prospects do when The Show is shut down? Fans of the Boston Bruins and New York Islanders respectively might feel it's only a small step for Hamilton to be a top-four defenceman or for Strome to be immediately below John Tavares on New York's depth chart at centre. Each probably was a good bet to play NHL games this fall, the same way ex-IceDog Alex Pietrangelo did with the St. Louis Blues three seasons ago before, coincidentally, being traded to Barrie for a package that included a then-rookie Strome. With little sign of progress in the CBA talks, the two are settling into being the elders on a transitioning team.
"For guys like me and Dougie, it's a chance to take a bit of a leadership role now that a lot of guys are gone," says Strome, who had the bookend markers Friday in Niagara's 4-2 comeback win at Ottawa. "We don't know how long we're going to be here, so it's a chance to help the young guys out because one day they're going to be the face of the franchise and get this team back to success.
"Being back in the OHL is definitely not a bad fallback," adds Strome, a potential returnee for Team Canada. At least we're playing hockey and we have chance to work on what we need to improve. Some players aren't playing right now and for us to continue playing in the best development league in the world isn't a bad option."Read More »from Dougie Hamilton, Ryan Strome find upside in OHL return as lockout drags on