You can’t teach skill.
You can hone it. You can develop it. But it is either there or it isn’t.
Tonio Stranges is a player who is known for flat-out skill and he is now set to take it to Dallas, Texas after being selected by the Stars in the 4th round of the 2020 NHL Draft.
Stranges has spent the past two seasons with the London Knights after London nabbed the Plymouth, Mich., native in Round 2 of the 2018 OHL Priority Selection.
Stranges had a solid 16-year old season with 34 points in 66 games. He improved his goal and point totals in his second year when he scored 19 goals and 40 points in 61 games. Had the season not been stopped in March due to COVID-19 Stranges was on pace for 20 goals.
He has become known for his 10-and-2 skating style that allows him to whip around the offensive zone looking for passing lanes or opportunities to fire pucks at the net.
Stranges can dazzle in shootouts. One of his first showings in London came in a 2018 Knights training camp scrimmage where Stranges skated toward the net and wheeled around in a complete 360-degree circle before scoring on a goaltender that wasn’t quite sure where to puck had gone. The move left fans wishing they had been recording the moment in real-time on their phones and also trying to figure out whether a goal like that would count. The puck must continue to move forward in a shootout. Before Stranges proved it could be done it was hard to believe a move like that was possible let alone legal.
The Stars showed off a deep young core on their run to the Stanley Cup final this year where they lost in six games to the Tampa Bay Lightning. Dallas is in no position to have to rush any of their prospects giving Stranges an opportunity to move into an even larger role in London.
Stranges is currently waiting with all other Ontario Hockey League players to find out how training camps will be conducted and how the 2020-21 year will ultimately work.
Camps are projected to get underway in mid-November with Dec. 4 as the expected start date for the regular season.
Two former London Knights in Mitchell Stephens and Gemel Smith each signed new two-year deals with the Stanley Cup champion Lightning.