This one would be a bit of a gamble for the San Jose Sharks, but Anton Stralman has been consistently effective for years in the NHL. His elite skating ability and puck sense has enabled his game to evolve along with the style of play in the NHL.
With the possible impending loss of Erik Karlsson, Team Teal’s right side is looking awfully thin. This makes Anton Stralman an excellent candidate to help solidify their blueline to maintain their status as Stanley Cup contenders.
The almost 33-year-old only suited up in 47 games last season and missed the 2019 Stanley Cup playoffs. He was plagued with various injuries throughout the entire season and was unable to find a permanent role in the stacked Tampa Bay lineup. But when healthy, Stralman can be used in a support role with almost any defensive partner.
In Tampa he got aligned with players like Victor Hedman, Ryan McDonagh and Mikhail Sergachev. He got tasked as the safety valve for those players so they could use their offensive prowess to pinch down into the zone to get involved in play. At the same time though he has shown the ability to put dangerous shots on net and produce points as well.
The totals aren’t eye-popping by any means, but they are extremely serviceable when you consider that Stralman gets tasked mostly with defensive responsibilities. He could be used in a number of different ways on the San Jose Sharks, but would likely do the most damage combined with a player like Marc-Edouard Vlasic.
Coach Pete DeBoer loves utilizing match-ups and combining Stralman and Marc-Edouard Vlasic would instantly give the Sharks a lethel shut-down pairing. This would allow DeBoer to revert to giving Burns the more favorable zone starts, instead of using him in more of a defensive capacity like he did in the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Team Teal’s defensive core is on the older end of the spectrum, but with Justin Braun’s contract coming off the books next season Stralman’s inevitable salary would end up replacing it beyond 2019 – 2020.
Missing all that time last season will likely put a dent in the amount Stralman thought he would make heading into this off-season of free agency. This gives Team Teal a chance at taking a swing at the impact right-handed defenseman. The EvolvingWild contract projections tool has him signing a 3 x 4.5 AAV, which would be a fairly reasonable price for a proven playoff test blueliner
Again this figure isn’t definitive but if Team Teal can ink the Swedish blueliner to anything close to that they’d be set up for success (in the short term). Even with the loss of EK65, Stralman would help round out the right side and create a formidable top 4 defensive group.
Now all the Sharks have to do is convince him to help out West and join his fifth team, but his first in the Western Conference in 749 regular season games.