Anton Stralman will face his former team for the chance to earn a berth in the Stanley Cup Final.
A year ago, Stralman made it that far as a member of the New York Rangers. But after a steady and solid post-season performance, the now 28-year-old defenseman signed last summer with the Tampa Bay Lightning as an unrestricted free agent to a five-year, $22.5 million deal.
The investment has already started to pay off. In his first season with the Lightning, Stralman posted a career-high in goals (nine) and points (39). He’s also riding a three-game point streak into this Eastern Conference Final between the Lightning and Rangers.
“The media that’s been around me much of the year, I’ve used this line about Anton, he may not win the Norris Trophy, but his partner will. That’s how good he can make you look,” Lightning head coach Jon Cooper told reporters.
“People should just watch him. He’s always on the right side of the puck. He uses his body in such a way that he doesn’t have to play a big heavy game, but he can play it because his body position is literally perfect every time he’s around the puck.
“He’s also got nerves of steel.”