Although it has been widely reported that Anton Stralman will return to Europe for family reasons, Larry Brooks is reporting that isn’t stopping the Rangers from attempting to keep Stralman on Broadway for a few more seasons:
It appears as if restricted free-agent defenseman Anton Stralman, whom the Rangers qualified at $945,000, is leaning toward remaining in the NHL rather than returning home to pursue a career in Sweden…It’s far more plausible the Rangers will attempt to negotiate a multi-year deal with Stralman…
Stralman, who is arbitration eligible, is a much needed right-handed defenseman who proved himself capable of playing top-four minutes last season and during the playoffs.
If the Rangers are able to retain Stralman’s services, it reduces the need for them to trade assets for a right-handed shot on the blue line and addresses a gaping hole that emerged once Michael Sauer went down with his injury.
While all the attention is rightfully on Zach Parise and Ryan Suter, as they drive the UFA and trade markets, a signing of Stralman would float under the radar. Re-signing Stralman would be a lot like re-signing Martin Biron: A necessary and important depth move.
However unlike Biron, Stralman would be relied upon to play heavy minutes while Sauer is recovering from his concussion. As long as Sauer is out, the soon-to-be 26 year old Stralman will likely be playing top-four minutes. If he can repeat his performance in the playoffs, then he will be one great finding by the Rangers. He is the definition of low-risk, high-reward.