Dylan Strome has been a healthy scratch from the Chicago Blackhawks' lineup through the first four games of the 2021-22 season. But that's about to change tonight.
Ahead of Thursday night's contest, head coach Jeremy Colliton announced that Strome will play against the Vancouver Canucks.
The Blackhawks are off to a miserable 0-3-1 start, accumulating just one standings point from an overtime loss to the New Jersey Devils in the second game of the season. Opponents have also outscored them 17-8. While defensive breakdowns play a large factor in the -9 goal differential, the Blackhawks could use a boost in the scoring department as well.
When tweaking the lineup ahead of the team's most recent contest, Colliton elected to insert hard-nosed forward Mike Hardman over Strome. Hardman's physicality was on display as he led the Blackhawks with six hits on Tuesday, but his night was cut short after suffering a head laceration that resulted from a big hit along the boards midway through the third period.
Hardman's timeline is unclear, but the Blackhawks announced he won't play tonight. That opens the door for Strome to make his season debut, during which he hopes to provide an offensive spark.
Despite trade rumors swirling and ambiguity from the top regarding his prior absences, Strome will finally get his first opportunity to prove he belongs in the Blackhawks' lineup every night.
The Blackhawks have yet to hold a lead -- let alone win a game -- so far this season, partially due to a lack of offensive production. Since coming to Chicago in 2018, Strome has 106 points (38 goals, 68 assists) in 156 games.
For all parties involved, Dylan Strome providing a scoring touch upon entering the lineup would go a long way.