Few possess the talent of Ryan Strome. He has shown it time after time, whether it is in the Ontario Hockey League, or the rookie scrimmage game with other New York Islanders prospects, he has shown that he has the potential to be an NHL star. However, because of an American Hockey League rule, the Islanders have to make a decision.
Strome, taken by the New York Islanders with the fifth overall pick of the 2011 NHL Amateur Draft has little left to prove in the Ontario Hockey League. Still just 19 years old, he has put up numbers that you're more likely to see in a video game than the OHL. In 111 games with the Ice Dogs, Strome has scored 66 goals and has 111 assists. That's an absolutely staggering 1.6 points per game.
I'd like to avoid calling Strome's situation, "unique." However, there is really no other way I can describe Strome's situation. Because of Strome's age, he is not allowed to play in the AHL. Players are required to be at least 20 years of age.
Is Strome ready for the NHL? Unlike most Islander fans, I don't think Strome should start in the NHL during the 2012-13 season. However, he has nothing left to prove in the OHL. He is dominating at that level and another year in the OHL likely won't make him any better or worse.
We've seen the Islanders rush prospects before. Josh Bailey has looked lost for the most part while playing for the Islanders and the Isles could not have handled the Nino Niederreiter's situation any worse than they did last year.
However, like I previously stated, Strome has zero to prove in the OHL. If the players and owners can come to an agreement to end the lockout he should be in the NHL. If it turns out there is a lockout, he obviously belongs in the OHL, playing hockey. Once he turns 20 years old, he should be at the Islanders AHL affiliate, the Bridgeport Soundtigers.
What do you think? If you are the Islanders GM what would you do with your top prospect?
Christopher Benini is a New York Islanders Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report and can be followed here.