Coyotes send Dylan Strome back to juniors

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Even though they currently find themselves at the bottom of the NHL standings, the Arizona Coyotes still have a bright future with an impressive collection of young talent.

One of the players most responsible for that optimism is Dylan Strome, the No. 3 overall pick in the 2015 draft.

It appears they are going to have to wait a little longer to see if he can completely reaches his potential in the NHL.

The Coyotes announced on Sunday that they have sent Strome back to Erie of the Ontario Hockey League. Strome has appeared in seven games for the Coyotes this season and recorded one assist.

“Dylan has made exceptional progress and continues to make strides to being an elite center in this league,” said general manager John Chayka in a statement released by the team. “At this point in time we felt it was best for his development to get him back playing in junior, but his future in the NHL is very bright.”

He spent the past three years in Erie before making his NHL debut and was one of the most dominant players in junior hockey over the past two. Since the start of the 2014-15 season Strome had 82 goals and 158 assists in only 124 games for Erie.

The dilemma for the Coyotes is deciding what is going to be best for both Strome and the organization.

On one hand, Strome clearly has nothing left to prove at the junior level and there really isn’t much for him to learn by going back to a league that he is probably going to dominate once again.

But if he is not quite ready to be an impact player in the NHL — and that seems to be the case based on what we have seen so far — it also isn’t going to do him much good to be used as sparingly as he has been this season in a league he might be quite ready for.

Obviously, the Coyotes decided the former option is in his best interest.

The ideal spot for Strome would be the American Hockey League, but because of the CHL transfer agreement he is not yet eligible to play at that level. But that is another discussion for another day.