International Ice Hockey Federation

Stralman the competitor

Stralman the competitor

Sweden's fortunes rest on D and youngsters

Published 11.05.2017 21:07 GMT+2 | Author John Sanful
Stralman the competitor
COLOGNE, GERMANY - MAY 5: Sweden's Anton Stralman #6 attempts to intercept the puck while Viktor Fasth #30 looks on during preliminary round action against Russia at the 2017 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship. (Photo by Andre Ringuette/HHOF-IIHF Images)
Anton Stralman has been to two Stanley Cup finals with two different teams over the past four seasons. He has the experience Sweden needs.

Stralman is, without question, a battle tested player. He’s participated in a significant number of postseason NHL playoff hockey games.

Although Tampa Bay did not make the playoffs this spring, Stralman has suited up and saw action in 87 NHL playoff games since 2012.

In addition to his NHL experience, Stralman has represented Sweden three times at the World Championship and has 24 games under his belt to go with a bronze medal won in 2009. It’s because he’s been on NHL teams that have gone deep in the NHL playoffs that this tournament marks the first time he’s represented Sweden at the World Championships in eight years.

When Stralman signed with the New York Rangers in 2011, he came into his own and showed that he’s able to play high stakes hockey in the spring. In his three years in New York, those Rangers teams were perennial contenders, making it to a Conference Finals and Stanley Cup Final.

Stralman signed with Tampa Bay as a free agent in 2014 and in his first season there helped to get the Lightning to the Stanley Cup Final. Tampa Bay would lose to the Chicago Blackhawks in six games.

He’s played so much quality hockey that he’s a leader on this Swedish team and will be an invaluable veteran as Sweden seeks to qualify for the quarterfinals. Stralman is averaging 23 minutes per game and has also picked up three assists. He has been paired with Victor Hedman and they’ve worked special teams together. The pair has been very effective. 

Midway through the Preliminary Round, group standings are taking shape. With losses to Russia and the United States, Sweden needs to run the table on its remaining games to make it into the playoff round. Taking on the undefeated Latvia tonight will be important.

“This is a tough group with a lot of good teams,” he said in assessing the results so far. “You see Germany beat the USA, what Latvia has been able to do, and us losing to the USA that there are no easy games any more. There are great players all over the world representing their teams so there are no games to be taken for granted.”

Stralman is happy seeing so many young players step up and play an important role on this team. Whether it is Elias Lindholm or William Nylander or Gabriel Landeskog or Victor Rask, Sweden has many offensive weapons from which to generate scoring.

“These guys are very effective and hard working,” Stralman said of the group. “They have the skill as well and you see when they are able to score. We definitely had more chances when they are on the ice.”


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