Saturday: The Bruins have made the PTO official with a release on their site this morning. Boston visits the Philadelphia Flyers this evening for their first preseason contest, but it doesn’t appear Stralman will draw in, as he wasn’t skating at practice this morning, details The Athletic’s Fluto Shinzawa.
Stralman had been lingering on the market as an unrestricted free agent to this point, and while some speculated that retirement could be a possibility for the 36-year-old Stralman communicated a clear desire to continue his career.
In Boston, Stralman will vie for a chance to reinforce a blueline that will be without two crucial players at the start of the regular season. Both Charlie McAvoy and Matt Grzelcyk are expected to remain unavailable by the time the Bruins take on the Capitals on October 12th. This could give Stralman a leg up as he competes for a role on the Bruins’ defense, as the team could prefer to have Stralman, who has nearly 1,000 games of NHL experience, in their lineup rather than less experienced in-house options such as Jakub Zboril or Jack Ahcan.
Stralman isn’t the quality top-four blueliner he once was, but on a talent-poor Arizona Coyotes team last season Stralman scored a healthy 23 points in 74 games and played more than 21 minutes per night. In a more limited role in Boston, he could find success.
For Stralman, this PTO signing leaves him less secure in his future than a regular NHL contract would, but he nonetheless has a strong opportunity in front of him to earn NHL time.
The Bruins are a good team who also, at least on paper, look to have room for him to win a spot on their blueline. If Stralman can have a good camp and show up well in the preseason, he could see himself wearing Bruins colors for longer than just the preseason.