Jun 4, 2014; Los Angeles, CA, USA; New York Rangers defenseman Anton Stralman (6) handles the puck during game one of the 2014 Stanley Cup Final against the Los Angeles Kings at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Tampa Bay Lightning Sign Defenseman Anton Stralman

It may have taken almost three hours into the official start of the NHL Free Agency period, but it looks like the Tampa Bay Lightning has made their first big move.

Tampa Bay Lightning Vice President and General Manager Steve Yzerman has inked New York Rangers defenseman Anton Stralman to a five year deal.

According to ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun, the deal is worth a reported $22.5 million over the course of the next five seasons.

People here in the Bolts Nation were starting to get nervous as some of the bigger names that were rumored to be speaking to the Lightning were quickly disappearing off of the market.

Last season, Stralman suited up for all but one of the games the New York Rangers played. In that amount of time, the 5 foot 11 inch defenseman scored 1 goal and 12 assists for a total of 13 points. This goes hand in hand with his plus-9 rating.

During the post season, Stralman was able to add to his point totals with an additional 5 assists to go along with his plus-4 rating.

The 27 year old d-man has already made the round trip in the National Hockey League. He was originally drafted in the 7th Round, 216th overall, in the 2005 NHL Entry Draft by the Toronto Maple Leafs.

After two seasons with the Maple Leafs, Stralman would head to the Columbus Blue Jackets, where he would spend the next two seasons.

This is where he would find his home with the New York Rangers in the 2011-12 season.

From where I am standing, where he has descended in offensive production, he has significantly increased on the blue line.

Over the course of the last few seasons, the Tampa Bay Lightning has been plagued with issues on defense that seemingly had no end in sight.

Last season, Yzerman brought up defensemen like Radko Gudas that have been able to help with some of those holes, but the Bolts needed another veteran that could really dig in along with Victor Hedman to get the Lightning’s blue line in order.

Is Stralman going to be the guy that gets the job done? Thankfully, we don’t have to wait too much longer to find out.

What are your thoughts on the Lightning’s acquisition of Anton Stralman? What do you think he brings to the table for the struggling Bolts defense? Let us know what you think in the comments below.


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