Anton Stralman: Keep or Dump?
The New York Rangers are currently taking part in the Eastern Conference Finals, and one of the main reasons they are still playing is their depth on defense. The combinations are the same for almost every shift of every game, barring an unforeseen occurrence during game play. The Rangers are getting an extended look at a guy who has found a home on Broadway, but is set to become a free agent.
New York Rangers’ defenseman, Anton Stralman has seen plenty of ice time this year with Marc Staal, and has helped solidify a capable, and competent blue-line. The Rangers will have six unrestricted free agents, and five restricted free agents that are due for a salary bump, most notably, Mats Zuccarello, who is almost certain to get a new deal. The Rangers have already offered Anton Stralman a 3-year deal worth 9-million dollars, which was rejected. Anyone who knows Glen Sather, knows that he is a tough nut to crack when it comes to negotiating, especially with his current players. Sather may still try to get Anton Stralman signed before he hits the open market, but won’t break his back to do so.
Stralman is averaging over 18 minutes on ice per game, as is defensive partner Marc Staal. At times, this season, they’ve looked lost together, but at other times, they’ve been great together. Anton Stralman has played 97 games in total so far this season for the Rangers, which shows his durability, and has only been a minus player in 26 of those games. Anton Stralman should be kept because he does solidify the top 4, but at what price? Marc Staal is due for a new contract next season, and will demand somewhere between Ryan McDonagh and Dan Girardi-type money. The acquisition of Kevin Klein has made the Stralman situation a little more interesting, as Klein was top-4 in Nashville, and is signed for the next 4 seasons.
To sum this intriguing situation up, Anton Stralman should be kept, but at a reasonable price. It is hard to see the Rangers going more than 3.5 for Anton Stralman, being that Brian Boyle, Mats Zuccarello, Derick Brassard, Chris Kreider, Dominic Moore, Benoit Pouliot, and John Moore, all need new contracts. Daniel Carcillo, Raphael Diaz and Justin Falk will also need new contracts if they are to stay on Broadway.
Is Anton Stralman’s days on Broadway numbered? Or, will he be a New York Ranger for an extended period of time? Only time will tell, but he has made a great case for a new contract while he has been here. The Rangers have made the Eastern Conference Finals 2 of the 3 seasons that Stralman has been on Broadway. There is no question that he has given some depth, and much needed reliability to the Rangers’ defense.