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UFA of the Day: Anton Stralman

Jun 13, 2014, 12:02 PM EST

Anton Stralman Getty Images

Check PHT each weekday for the first four weeks of June for a new pending unrestricted free agent of the day. Today’s UFA of the Day is…

Anton Stralman

It wasn’t that long ago that it looked like Stralman might not be able to have a long and fruitful career in the NHL. By the time he was 25, he had already been traded twice and went into the summer of 2011 as an unrestricted free agent because the Columbus Blue Jackets didn’t feel he was even worth a qualifying offer.

The defenseman wasn’t able to secure a contract over the summer, so he accepted an invitation to attend the New Jersey Devils’ training camp. When they released him from camp, he continued to practice with the team in the hopes that they might eventually sign him. In mid-October, he returned to his home country Sweden because he wasn’t allowed to travel with the Devils on their trip to Nashville.

His intention was to talk to his family and decide how long he should wait for the Devils to make him an offer before moving on, per the Bergen Record.

“I had a confidence that I could make it back, but I didn’t really have the confidence that I was going to get the chance to come back,” Stralman told reporters Thursday in Los Angeles. “It kind of worked itself out.”

Indeed it did because on Nov. 4, 2011, the New York Rangers finally gave him the chance he was looking for and he ran with it. He’s not an all-star defenseman, but he’s solid defensively and has been trusted with big minutes in New York’s playoff run.

He’s not a big factor offensively so he usually doesn’t end up on highlight reels, but Game 4 was an exception as he denied the Kings a goal that might have changed the outcome of that contest:

His future with the Rangers is likely dependent on Brad Richardssituation as the team will be in a difficult cap spot unless they buy out the forward’s contract, but regardless of what happens there, Stralman shouldn’t have to wait until November to get a contract this time around.

  1. barkar942 - Jun 13, 2014 at 12:14 PM

    Stralman has John Tortorella to thank for where he is now. Stralman really took to heart what Torts was preaching about play without the puck and he has consistently improved his play since Torts said he thought he stunk when he first got to the Rangers.
    Dump the Richards contract and resign the entire team. Keep this core together. Can remain a dominat team for a couple of seasons.

    • billiam55 - Jun 13, 2014 at 12:22 PM

      very true. richards isnt worth it thats for sure. and then maybe we can actually sign a younger, speedy center. stastny comes to mind.

      • spoon9z - Jun 13, 2014 at 12:29 PM

        younger perhaps, but speedy he is not

    • MichS - Jun 13, 2014 at 12:56 PM

      Behind MacTruck, he’s been their 2nd best dman this post season. Girardi and Staal have been lost.

    • mactruck27 - Jun 13, 2014 at 1:32 PM

      Agree with dumping Richards, but who will be our #2 C? Resigning entire team could end up being costly and I don’t think JT Miller is ready to take that role

      • petersteelewannabe - Jun 13, 2014 at 2:47 PM

        As a Flyers fan, the last thing I want to do is see the Rangers get better but if LA does buy out Mike Richards…well there’s one hell of a #2 center, probably reasonably priced with all that money he’ll get from the Kings.

  2. spoon9z - Jun 13, 2014 at 12:28 PM

    He would make a FANTASTIC pair with Barrie. Come on Avs, go get this guy, as Colorado needs all the help they can get.

  3. gmenfan1982 - Jun 13, 2014 at 12:29 PM

    I’d really like to see this team stay together for the most part. Boyle as a great PK guy, center, and winger, is crucial to get resigned. If you can sign Stralman you have two extremely solid defensive pairs. Zucc brassard pouilot line has been great so is like to see pouilot resigned. Dominic Moore is a solid defensive forward and solid on draw and the PK. I’d like him to stick around as well. Buyout Richards, cap goes up, should be able to get it done.

  4. xaile94 - Jun 13, 2014 at 2:15 PM

    I remember him stepping into the lineup as an injury replacement and having an absolutely horrible game against Florida. Sat out the next few games and came back a completely different player. I recall him being viewed as an offensive-minded d-man early in his career. Clearly, that wasn’t working out. Nice to see that he was willing and able to change his game and keep his career afloat. Same could be said of Pouliot making some adjustments this year, although I think his were more focus/effort related.

  5. 101starmymedic - Jun 13, 2014 at 5:57 PM

    DETROIT.

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