The Tampa Bay Lightning cleared the decks on Sunday night, creating cap space for an further upgrade to their defense. After Dan Boyle, a veteran target, signed with the New York Rangers, the Bolts opted for the defenseman Boyle is replacing in New York: Anton Stralman.
Tampa signed Stralman to a 5-year, $22.5-million deal on Tuesday, which were the terms he was seeking from the Rangers. That's a $4.5 million annual cap hit.
Stralman had 13 points in 81 games for the Rangers last season. He’s four seasons removed from his best offensive season, which was 34 points in 73 games for the Columbus Blue Jackets in 2009-10.
But points aren’t the point for Stralman. He’s a possession driving player on the blueline who should fit well in coach Jon Cooper’s system. Any questions about his defensive prowess were answered during his outstanding playoff run for the Rangers, consistently one of the Blueshirts’ best defenders -- sometimes in a goal-saving way.
Like Boyle, Stralman is a right-handed shot joining a team that only had Radko Gudas as a right-handed regular.
So GM Steve Yzerman adds Jason Garrison and Stralman to a defense that already includes Victor Hedman, Eric Brewer, Matt Carle and Gudas. Not bad.