fb-pixel Skip to main content
Bruins Notebook

Veteran Anton Stralman could help Bruins’ defense on the right side

The Bruins are taking a look at defenseman Anton Stralman, who spent last season playing 21-plus minutes a night for the Coyotes, posting his highest point totals (8-15–23) since 2016.Ross D. Franklin/Associated Press

PHILADELPHIA — The Bruins brought in a veteran to help their defensive unit, signing 36-year-old Anton Stralman to a pro tryout agreement.

The 15-year NHLer was on the ice in Brighton on Saturday, wearing No. 36 and paired with fellow Swede Hampus Lindholm. His expectations were tempered.

“I’m just here trying to play hockey,” he said, “do my best, and at the end, we’ll see if there’s a spot.”

If he sticks, the right-shooting Stralman could aid a Boston back line that counts four right-side defenders: Charlie McAvoy (injured), Brandon Carlo, Connor Clifton, and Connor Carrick. McAvoy, who hasn’t recently provided an update on his recovery, was originally said to be out until December.

Advertisement



Best known for his excellent two-way work with the Lightning in the middle part of the last decade — he received a handful of Norris Trophy votes in 2015 and 2016 — Stralman’s game has declined in recent years. He spent last season playing 21-plus minutes a night for the moribund Coyotes, posting his highest point totals (8-15―23) since 2016.

He had conversations with Arizona before free agency opened, but said there weren’t many other NHL teams calling him this fall.

“No, not really to be honest,” said Stralman, whose wife and four children remain in Arizona. “When the opportunity came up I was excited for it. I like the culture of this team. I like what they want to do. It’s fun to be a part of.”

If all goes well in Boston camp, he could wind up signing a deal near the NHL minimum ($750,000), compete with Carrick to be the third right defenseman while McAvoy recovers, then be on recall in case of injury.

Stralman said none of that is on his mind.

“It’s the first day, and it’s a PTO,” he said with a smile. “I’m not going to come in and talk about what I’m going to do four months from now. I’m focusing on today and tomorrow, and at the end of the day, if there’s a spot available, awesome. And if not, that’s life.”

Advertisement



Having Stralman around could also let coach Jim Montgomery play Jakub Zboril on his natural left side. Zboril, trying to crack the lineup, has been practicing on the right.

Stralman, a seventh-round pick (216th overall) by Toronto in 2005, is 70 games shy of 1,000. If he signs a contract, the Bruins would be his seventh team (Maple Leafs, Blue Jackets, Rangers, Lightning, Panthers, Coyotes).

The 5-foot-11-inch,186-pound defenseman has never been the swiftest skater, or most hard-edged defender, but he has been a solid player for a long time.

“Anton’s really smart. His gift is his brain and how he competes,” Montgomery said. “Guys like that are able to extend their careers because they have the ability to adjust to any role.”

A.J. Greer happy to be in Boston

A.J. Greer, typically a fourth-liner, found himself riding a scoring line with Jack Studnicka and Fabian Lysell. He’s enjoying every moment of this homecoming.

“Every day I walk into the rink and see that B and see my name next to it, it’s chilling,” said the Montreal native, who played at Kimball Union in New Hampshire before spending two years at Boston University. “It’s such an honor.”

In his seven years as a pro, Greer has proven to be an excellent AHL player. He put up 52 points and 102 PIM in 53 games last year with New Jersey’s affiliate in Utica. Playing NHL minutes is his goal.

Advertisement



“I think I took a real huge step last year,” said the 25-year-old, who has appeared in 47 games in the last six years (2-6—8). “I produced offensively and rounded my game to a defensive-first mentality. It’s about opportunity. I feel ready to grasp that opportunity.

“I feel very clear-minded and really happy with my effort and execution the last few days. I’ve opened some eyes and shown them I came in ready to go.”

Eduards Tralmaks suffers knee injury

Big winger Eduards Tralmaks, who spent last year in Providence, got the worst of a knee-on-knee collision at Saturday’s practice. “We don’t know the verdict there,” Montgomery said. “We’ll let you know tomorrow” … German defenseman Kai Wissmann took a puck to the mouth in practice, but was in the lineup for his Boston debut … Montgomery plans to use his NHL staff of assistants for the entire preseason. Next year, he said, he might work AHL coaches into the mix … Montgomery’s first impressions of David Krejci: “Cerebral, professional and funny. He’s funny” … Nick Foligno was hoping to catch up with Flyers coach John Tortorella, for whom he served as captain for six years in Columbus. “Once you get to know him, he’s an incredible coach,” Foligno said. “He has some of the best pregame speeches you’ll ever hear. He’s a motivator — are you going to quit, or are you going to push through for your team?” Tortorella watched the game from the press box, while AHL coach Ian Laperriere ran the bench … Foligno, Jake DeBrusk and Tomas Nosek were alternate captains on Saturday ... Philly’s goalie backup was Troy Grosenick, who spent last year in Providence …Right winger Vinni Lettieri, playing a caffeinated game, landed a team-high five shots ... Rookie center John Beecher had a quiet game, but was 10 of 18 on draws (56 percent). He also logged 4:40 on the power play. Last season at Michigan, he barely touched the ice on the man-up, finishing with one goal.

Advertisement




Matt Porter can be reached at matthew.porter@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter: @mattyports.