By: Theo Lander | Follow me on Twitter @lander_theo
The Boston Bruins are in need of desperate help on the blue line this season. With Charlie McAvoy and Matt Grzelyck missing time to start the year recovering from surgery, the Bruins will be problematically thin on defense. Enter Anton Stralman.
Ty Anderson of 98.5 the Sport’s Hub reported on Wednesday that the Bruins had extended a professional tryout contract to an unknown player that had not come to a decision. The following day, he reported that the player was Anton Stralman.
Stralman had been linked to the Bruins through rumors circulating over the summer, but with Zdeno Chara and P.K. Subban retiring this week, the picture became much clearer. The 15-year NHL veteran will provide some much-needed experience to the Bruin’s shallow blue line (if he reports to the NHL club).
Anton Stralman posted eight goals and 15 assists for 23 points last season with the Arizona Coyotes in 74 games. Stralman held a plus/minus rating of -16, which is understandable given the fact that he was on the second-worst team in hockey last year. He also logged an average of 21:10 minutes per game for the Coyotes.
For those interested in advanced analytics, Stralman held an underwhelming 38.8% Corsi rating. The best season of his career was 2014-2015, in which he played a full 82-game season with the Tampa Bay Lightning and came away with nine goals and 30 assists for 39 points. Anton also finished 13th in James Norris Memorial Trophy voting that year.
So what does this mean for the Bruins? They have the opportunity to add a capable right-defenseman who can play a sum of minutes in the absence of some of their key blue-liners. As previously mentioned, the Bruins are particularly thin on the blue line to start the year, and a player with Stralman’s ability and experience can make a major difference in how the team performs overall.
I would not anticipate this move having long-term implications, however. Stralman is 35 years old, and his production has fizzled out over the past few years. He is well into the back nine of his career, and if his PTO status is any implication, then it will be even more difficult for him to theoretically crack an NHL roster next year. However, for a team that has holes to fill in the short-term, Anton Stralman fits the bill. Whether or not he actually makes the Boston Bruins roster remains to be seen.