A lot has changed for Anton Stralman since playing in the Stanley Cup Final less than a month ago, but the veteran defenseman is excited about his future after seeing the Tampa Bay Lightning’s success in 2013-14 and its offseason direction thus far.
“This team is close to complete,” Stralman said. “The forwards have tremendous fire power, one of the best scorers in the league, you can’t ask for more. Defensively they’re solid, big, strong guys and [Ben] Bishop has been great too.”
Stralman’s confidence in the Bolts is also expressed through his contract, which keeps him in Tampa Bay through the 2018-19 season.
“That’s exactly what we were looking for,” Stralman said. “Going into free agency we wanted a long deal and security in the deal with no trades. I’m really happy and appreciative with what Tampa came with.”
He, along with Matt Carle, Jason Garrison and Victor Hedman, now represent a solid Lightning blue line for more than just the 2014-15 campaign, with all of them being under contract for at least the next three seasons. Hedman becomes an unrestricted free agent [UFA] in 2016-17, while Carle and Garrison both become UFAs in 2017-18.
The 27-year-old’s first focus will be finding his role and how he fits in with the Bolts, but his former teammates, Ryan Callahan and Brian Boyle, will make it easier.
As for those from the Bolts, fellow Swede Hedman has done his part to reach out to Stralman and head coach Jon Cooper has left a lasting mark on him, despite just brief discussions.
"I got a really good impression of him [Cooper],” Stralman said. “He seems like a tremendous guys and he’s obviously done a good job here. All the players I’ve spoken too, nobody has a bad thing to say.”
After Stralman gets more familiar with the area, he and his family are set to head back to Sweden following the brief period of uncertainty.
But there’s still one thing for him to confirm.
“I told my daughter there’s dolphins here,” Stralman said. “So hopefully there are.”
STRALMAN ON BOYLE
“Brian Boyle is a very committed player and he always puts in a great effort out there. He’s got a good shot, has good moves, he’s obviously big and strong; when his game is on he is effective and hopefully he can grow into a bigger role here.”
OTHER NEWS ‘N NOTES
Stralman said that despite what will become a shortened offseason for him with a deep run in the Stanley Cup Playoffs with the New York Rangers this past year, conditioning-wise he’s in great shape and that he will just have to get back on track with weight lifting.
The Bolts made two transactions Tuesday, as blueliner Matt Corrente and forward Cody Kunyk both signed one-year, two-way contracts. Corrente joins the Bolts after previously playing with the American Hockey League’s Charlotte Checkers last season. Kunyk was signed as an undrafted, free agent last year and made his debut in the season finale at the Washington Capitals.