Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Rangers Make Contract Offer To D Stralman; Bad Sign For Staal Recovery?

Last night Tom Gulitti, of the Bergen Record, reported at Fire and Ice that the New York Rangers made a contract offer to unrestricted free agent Anton Stralman. 
A source confirmed that the Rangers have made a contract offer to defenseman Anton Stralman, the unrestricted free agent who attended training camp with the Devils as a tryout.
Stralman was in camp with the New Jersey Devils this year, but was not offered a contract to join the team.  The initial thinking was that Stralman would eventually sign with the Devils, but that never came to fruition.  Guilitti reports that Stralman has yet to give the Rangers an answer on their offer and is weighing and offer from HV 71 in the Swedish Elite League.
Stralman has the ability to add some offense from the blue line as he scored 34 (6G, 28A) points for Columbus in 73 games two years ago.  He could not match that production last season, declining to 18 points (1G, 17A) in 51 games. The problem with Stralman is not in the offensive zone, but on the defensive end where he is a combined -28 the last two seasons.  The Rangers would love to add offense from the blue line, but they cannot afford to do it at the expense of solid defensive play.  It does not seem to fit what coach John Tortorella wants from his defense.
The New York Rangers have made no secret that they are looking into all possible defensive options with the absence of All-Star Marc Staal.  The team has already claimed Jeff Woywitka off waivers and is currently carrying eight defenders on the active roster.  The fact that even after claiming Woywitka and with Michael Sauer said to be getting close to returning, possibly Thursday, that they are still making contract offers to the likes of Stralman cannot be a good sign on Staal’s recovery.
During last Tuesday’s game with the Vancouver Canucks Joe Micheletti said that the Rangers might have  an update on Staal the following day, but no update ever came and all that has been said since is that things are “status quo.”  The lack of an update is never a good sign and “status quo” in this case certainly doesn’t indicate any sort of improvement in Staal’s condition.  The positive side of that is there is no announcement of any regression for Staal, but as the time between positive recovery news continues to grow so does the seeming timeline for Staal to return to the lineup.