Anton Stralman, A Man On The Move?
Heading into Wednesday’s NHL’s trade deadline the New York Rangers are faced with many decisions. We all know about the Rangers biggest elephant in the room Ryan Callahan, but there are several smaller ones they need to addressed. One of these players is Anton Stralman.
The acquisition of Stralman was a minor move that may be one of Glen Sather’s best. At the start of the 2011-2012 season Stralman had a cup of coffee with the New Jersey Devils before being cut prior to the season starting. Sather took a flyer on the journeyman defenseman, and the idea was to use him strictly for depth. At the time, the Rangers had their D pretty much set but an injury to Michael Sauer with a season ending concussion that gave Stralman his shot.
Stralman in his last 2 years has made great strides in his game especially in his defensive abilities. He has been very sound and it speaks volumes that he has been paired with Marc Staal this season. The problem facing the Rangers is the fact that he becomes a UFA, and there’s a good chance he walks come July 1st.
Now that Glen Sather locked up Dan Girardi for the next 6 years, this year’s UFA defensemen have gotten substantially weaker. The best defensemen available this summer are older. Dan Boyle (37), and Kimmo Timonen (38) are better offensively than Stralman, but Anton’s advantage is youth and a good grasp of AV’s system. Stralman is also only making 1.7 million this year and is in for a considerable raise like fellow 27 year old blueliner Matt Niskanen who is also playing himself into an increase.
In a year that has a thin pool of top talent defensemen, you can believe that Stralman can get a 4 year deal worth close to 4 million a year. The Rangers have a very good defensive lineup as it is with McDonagh, Girardi, Staal, Klein, and John Moore (RFA at years end); and they also have one defensive prospect in Hartford who seems to be very promising in Connor Allen. With Allen getting better it can make Stralman expendable especially since Stralman doesn’t have that much offensive pop.
Although it may have a negative impact this season, I do believe Sather will move Stralman on Wednesday if presented with the right offer. NY would probably take a mid-round pick that could be then turned and packaged in another deal. Stralman can hold a lot of value for a teams like Colorado and Edmonton that can use more help on defense. Teams at the deadline who are in contention, also want more help on defense and Anton Stralman could play a key role on a Cup contending team. Stay tuned as Wednesday 3:00 pm is coming quickly, and Glen Sather is a master at making clever trades that we least expect.
By: Nick P.