Before Anton Stralman inked a five-year, $22.5 million contract with the Tampa Bay Lightning in July, he wasn’t too familiar with Victor Hedman. However, the Swedish defensemen have been working together during Tampa Bay’s informal skates and they’ve liked the results.
“It’s almost like that when you meet a fellow Swede, it’s like you’ve known each other forever,” Stralman said, per the Tampa Bay Times. “It’s just natural.”
Hedman, 23, is just as enthusiastic about the possibility.
“It’d be awesome to play together,” Hedman said. “But we’ll see what happens.”
He’s coming off of a breakout season where he recorded 13 goals and 55 points in 75 contests. By contrast, Stralman had just 13 points in 2013-14. Which is okay given that Stralman’s strengths lie elsewhere, but the 28-year-old defenseman is still hoping to improve in that regard this season.
The Lightning are going into the 2014-15 campaign with a fairly deep defense after signing Stralman and acquiring Jason Garrison from the Vancouver Canucks to bolster their existing core of Hedman, Matt Carle, Radko Gudas, and Eric Brewer.