Anton Stralman struck it rich this summer when he signed a five-year, $22.5 million deal with the Tampa Bay Lightning.
For the team, it was a significant commitment to make for a defenseman that registered just 13 points in 81 games last season with the Rangers; however, buyer’s remorse isn’t even close to something the Lightning are feeling.
“He’s been nothing short of sensational,” coach Jon Cooper said, per the Tampa Bay Times. “Anton Stralman may never win the Norris Trophy, but there’s a really good chance his partner will. He makes people look good.”
Stralman, 28, has already racked up nine points (1G, 8A) in 12 games. His eight even-strength points are tied for the most among NHL d-men.
In addition to Stralman, Tampa Bay also added Jason Garrison to its back end, which already featured Victor Hedman (currently injured), Matt Carle, Eric Brewer, and Radko Gudas. Put together, they give the Lightning one of the deepest blue lines in the league, with a good mix of talent, puck-moving ability, size, and toughness.
Tampa Bay, by the way, is 5-2-0 since Hedman was hurt.