Anton Stralman files for arbitration

Following up on the Rangers RFAs, who received their qualifying offers last month, defenseman Anton Stralman –the only RFA eligible for artbitraion– filed for arbitration by yesterday’s deadline. Stralman’s qualifying offer was $945,000, a 5% increase on his $900,000 salary from last season.

Stralman is now a big piece for the Rangers to sign, and it’s something they are at least attempting to do. At the moment, Dan Girardi is the only defenseman that is guaranteed a roster spot that is a right handed shot. Stu Bickel is also a right handed shot, but there are no guarantees that he receives substantial playing time.

After signing a contract in November of last season, Stralman saw limited ice time until he was forced into the lineup when Steve Eminger, Jeff Woywitka, and Mike Sauer went down with injuries. When he finally got his chance, the 25-year-old defenseman exceeded expectations and eventually found himself on the second pairing with Michael Del Zotto.

Despite seeing limited action, Stralman still managed to finish with a line of 2-16-18 in 53 games, but it was in the playoffs where Stralman shined. While playing top-four minutes on a team playing with five defensemen, Stralman managed to chip in three goals and three assists in the Rangers run to the Eastern Conference Finals.

It was widely reported that he would be returning to Europe for family reasons, but filing for arbitration likely means that Stralman is at least considering staying in the NHL for next season.  All the focus is on the Rangers pursuit of Rick Nash, but re-signing Stralman would be a significant move for the Rangers, as he fills a pretty big hole on the blue line.

9 Responses to “Anton Stralman files for arbitration”

  1. Sally says:

    If he fills a pretty big hole, why didn’t they offer him enough money to sign on the dotted line?

  2. Zen says:

    I agree, Dave. I think that Stralman turned out to be a quality addition last season and provides an affordable (we hope at least) option for the Rangers on the 2nd pairing.

  3. AD says:

    Stralman is not a 2nd pairing defenseman. He had a good season last year but he is no better than a 3rd pairing defenseman in the NHL. Nice pickup by Sather last year, for sure.

  4. Tim B says:

    So when is his arbitration date?

  5. JimBob says:

    We all hope that Mike Sauer returns this coming year to his pre-injury level. Then Stralman will be very important to team on third pair with whoever comes up ( Erixon, McIlrath, other ? ). That makes Stu Bickel your 7th D-man and utility forward. Rangers are in great shape all around if Sauer returns to old form.

  6. Walt says:

    Stralman is a wonderful insurance policy!

    If Mike Sauer does come back, we have options, and could use either Stralman, Stu, or whomever they want as trade bait.

    Our problem is not defense, it’s still the need for a sniper. That is unless we can get a Shea Weber, that positions us wonderfully with both D, and a scoreing touch from the point!

    • AD says:

      We have a depth problem at defense, which becomes a factor more in the patter part of the season and playoff, when our top guys were stretched to the max. When Stralman and MDZ played top 4 minutes they were ok but “ok” is not good enough to get you into the Stanley Cup. A healthy Sauer and developing Erixon is what is needed but neither are a sure thing. Signing Stralman is prudent but this is a hole that needs to be filled by mid-season or trade deadline.

  7. mark says:

    If we get Shea Weber (and that would be great), a defensemen on the roster and one in the system will likely go in the trade. We are decently deep at that position, especially if Sauer returns.

  8. Mikeyyy says:

    Sauer has a huge history of injury problems. We need steal man for insurance against that.