Tampa Bay Lightning GM Steve Yzerman got his new defenseman and got a good deal for him.
ESPN.com’s Pierre LeBrun reports the Lightning have signed former New York Ranger Anton Stralman to a five-year, $22.5 million deal.
Stralman, 27, spent the past three seasons with the Rangers and emerged as one of their top defenders during their run to the Stanley Cup Final against the Los Angeles Kings. He had a goal and 12 assists last season and had five more helpers during the postseason.
Stralman paired up with Marc Staal in New York and joins a Tampa team that’s seen their blue line corps become something worth watching. He joins Victor Hedman, Matt Carle, newly-acquired Jason Garrison, and Radko Gudas to make up a skilled and tough defensive crew.
The Lightning clearly made room for Stralman on Sunday night with the deals they made to send Teddy Purcell and Nate Thompson out of town.
The Detroit Red Wings are going to be hot after a defenseman when free agency opens at noon ET, but one they won’t be after is Christian Ehrhoff.
Ansar Khan of MLive reports the Red Wings are still in on Matt Niskanen and Dan Boyle — two right-shooting d-men — but out on Ehrhoff, a lefty, as the former Buffalo Sabres blue-liner is seeking a five-year deal. Detroit was apparently only willing to go three years for the 31-year-old German.
Detroit is looking to add a top-four defenseman as they’re letting Kyle Quincey go to market. With a top pairing consisting of Niklas Kronwall and Jonathan Ericsson, the Wings need help as they have Jakub Kindl, Brendan Smith, and Brian Lashoff under contract for next season. Danny DeKeyser is a restricted free agent.
One way or another the Wings will be adding to the blue line, but chasing after 27-year-old Niskanen means they’ll have to cough up big money and term to land him in what’s going to be a very competitive market. Boyle makes for a good option, but at almost 38 years old there are questions about how much he’s got left in the tank.
The fun subplot here? Detroit’s stiffest competition for both players comes from the Tampa Bay Lightning and GM Steve Yzerman.
We’d heard all about how Florida Panthers GM Dale Tallon was listening intently for offers on the first overall pick at the 2014 Draft. What we didn’t know was who was in talks with him to move up.
According to ESPN.com’s Pierre LeBrun, the team that made the most aggressive push to deal with the Panthers were their in-state rival the Tampa Bay Lightning.
LeBrun said both Philadelphia and Vancouver made strong pitches, but it was Steve Yzerman who made Tallon think the most about dealing. Tallon ultimately kept the pick and selected Aaron Ekblad. You have to think that’s who Yzerman was aiming to take as well.
While Lightning-Panthers doesn’t stand out as as big a rivalry as Rangers-Islanders or Bruins-Canadiens, they’re still rivals and are also divisional foes. You have to imagine Tallon wasn’t too keen on making a deal with a team he sees so often and competes in the same state.
Still, you have to wonder just what did Yzerman offer up for the selection.