The Arizona Coyotes were paid to take Anton Strålman who proved to be one of the Coyotes better players.
The Arizona Coyotes were rumored to be in on Anton Strålman since before the Seattle Expansion Draft. At the time, rumors were it would cost the Coyotes Kyle Capobianco, who General Manager Bill Armstrong protected at the draft.
Ultimately, it didn’t cost the Coyotes Capobianco. The Coyotes got Strålman, Vladislav Kolyachonok, a 2024 second-round pick in exchange for a 2023 seventh-round pick.
Games Played: 74
TOI/Games Played: 21:20
PP TOI: 13:22
PK TOI: 217:06
Before coming to the Coyotes, Strålman had a rough season with the Florida Panthers. He was limited to 38 games last season, which saw him finish with three goals and six assists.
Florida’s decision to move Strålman makes sense from their perspective. Even if he was due for a bounceback season, he had a $5.5 million cap hit and was one of the overpaid players that the Coyotes acquired.
The 35-year-old Tibro, Sweden, provided a much-needed veteran presence on the Coyotes’ blue line last season. Arizona traded Ilya Lyubushkin in February, and when Jakob Chychrun was sidelined with injuries, Strålman was just one of two defensemen who didn’t start the season with the Tucson Roadrunners.
Strålman was eventually given an “A” as he proved to be one of the more reliable players on the team. He had plenty of experience and proved to be a leader on the ice.
He wasn’t the most offensive defenseman, but when the team needed to keep the puck out of the net, Strålman was a good choice. That’s not to say that Strålman didn’t put up numbers. He had eight goals and 15 assists in 74 games and finished eighth on the team in points.
Anton Strålman ate minutes in a way few other players did. Only Jakob Chychrun and Shayne Gositsbehere averaged more time per game. He was also the team’s top penalty killer, though he didn’t get much time on the power play.
Strålman isn’t the splashiest player, but he had a role and played it well. NHL teams need veteran defensemen like Strålman, and it was great to see him have a bounceback year.
Acquiring Strålman gave the Coyotes a good veteran defenseman, a young prospect, and a second-round pick. It was another great move by Bill Armstrong, he not only got a good player, but he got paid to take him.
Strålman was in the last year of a three-year, $16.5 million deal and is an unrestricted free agent. However, he will be 36 starting next season, so he probably won’t be getting term in his next contract.
The Coyotes need defensemen, especially veteran defensemen like Strålman, so there is a chance he re-signs with the Desert Dogs. But as a free agent, Strålman controls his destiny, so he could end up signing with a competitor looking to beef up before a Stanley Cup run.