After signing Anton Stralman, Tampa Bay ready to make big move in Eastern Conference

Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

While several other contenders in the Eastern Conference have been getting weaker, the Tampa Bay Lightning seem to be gearing up to make a big move.

Coming off a 101-point season the Tampa Bay Lightning were already a team on the rise in the Eastern Conference, and general manager Steve Yzerman hasn't exactly slowed down this offseason when it comes to continuing to build them into a Stanley Cup contending team.

After acquiring defenseman Jason Garrison from the Vancouver Canucks in a pre-draft trade and clearing out salary with the compliance buyout of Ryan Malone, the Lightning continued to boost their defense in free agency by signing Anton Stralman to a five-yaer, $22.5 million contract.

For Stralman, it's a testament to how far his career has come in just a few years, going from a guy that was settling for a tryout contract to a player that was one of the most sought after players in free agency. He's always been an underappreciated defenseman in the NHL throughout his career because he doesn't necessarily do the things that get people to notice defensemen. He doesn't put up a ton of points offensively, and he's not really known for being a big, physical presence that is going to physically overpower people.

But when he's on the ice his team flat out plays better than when he's not, and isn't that the most important thing? Substance over style.

It's a huge get for Tampa Bay and gives them a defence that will be powered by Stralman, Garrison, Matt Carle and the criminally underrated Victor Hedman, a player that is quickly becoming one of the better all-around defensemen in the NHL.

Combine them with a forward group that has Steven Stamkos and an impressive collection of young forwards starting to make an impact in the NHL, and you've got a team that has the chance to make a ton of noise in a conference that remains up for grabs due to its lack of dominant teams, with some of the top teams (New York, Pittsburgh) seemingly making themselves weaker so far this offseason.

They have a superstar, a promising young goaltender that is coming off of a huge season, cheap impact talent, and now they've added two significant pieces to their defense.

More from

SB Nation Featured Video

Latest News

In This Article

Log In Sign Up

Log In Sign Up

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.


You must be a member of to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at You should read them.


You must be a member of to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at You should read them.




Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.