When the Rangers signed Anton Stralman in early November, it was pretty much an afterthought for most fans. After all, Stralman would need time to get into hockey shape, then more time to learn coach John Tortorella’s system. And who even knew if he was a Torts guy.
A month after his signing, Stralman had played just one game, and many were beginning to wonder if he would ever suit up for the Rangers. In fact, it took a Dion Phaneuf hit on Mike Sauer –and an awkward fall into the boards– to even convince Tortorella to dress the newly acquired defenseman on a regular basis. He was dressed as a necessity, not as a luxury.
Now, three months after the Sauer injury, Stralman has been seeing top four time on a consistent basis. His offensive numbers aren’t too impressive –on pace for about 20 points– but he has been a steady presence on the blue line and filled in admirably for the missing Sauer/Marc Staal at various times.
Looking at his advanced metrics, Stralman’s 4.7 GVT (2.1 OGVT/2.6...