The Florida Panthers have traded defenseman Anton Stralman, prospect Vladislav Kolyachonok and a 2nd round pick in 2024 to the Arizona Coyotes. In return, Florida receives a 7th round draft selection in 2023. The Panthers completed a deal late Monday with the Coyotes.
FLA/ARIZ deal is Stralman, Vladislav Kolyachonok (52nd in 2019), and a 2nd in 2024 for a 7th in 2023. @PierreVLeBrun had Stralman approval
— Elliotte Friedman (@FriedgeHNIC) July 26, 2021
Florida Panthers Trade Anton Stralman to the Coyotes
Stralman enters the final year of a three-year deal next season, with a cap hit of $5.5 million. It was that cap hit that became one that general manager Bill Zito pushed to move off the books. This deal accomplishes exactly that, providing some cap alleviation to the Panthers. The cost to move the contract comes via the future 2nd round pick, along with Kolyachonok who Florida selected 52nd overall in the 2019 draft.
Coyotes Receive Anton Stralman via Trade
In Stralman, the Coyotes get an experienced, veteran presence on their back-end. His role, however, diminished greatly in Florida between his first and second seasons. After playing 69 games for the club in 2019-20, he dressed only 38 times in 2020-21. This year, he scored six goals and nine assists for 15 points, adding 8 minutes in penalties. His possession numbers are 46.8 percent Corsi and a relative Corsi of -9.1 percent. Those totals are down compared to the season prior, where he scored five goals and 14 assists for 19 points.
Over his 14-year NHL career, Stralman has suited up for the Tampa Bay Lightning, New York Rangers, Toronto Maple Leafs, Columbus Blue Jackets, and the Panthers. In that time, he has potted 55 goals and 215 assists for 270 career points in 856 career games. He was originally drafted in the 7th round, 216th overall in the 2005 NHL Entry Draft by the Leafs.
What This Means for the Future
The Panthers had just about $7 million in cap space remaining for next season, which instantly jumps to $12.5 million after this move. That’s a big deal, considering the team has to sign newly acquired winger Sam Reinhart. They did get a deal done with RFA Sam Bennett, but still have to make decisions on plenty of other pending free agents. Meanwhile, Chase Priskie, Samuel Montembeault, and Juho Lammikko all received qualifying offers this week, but none will take significant dollars against the cap.
With that in mind, the question becomes where the additional cap space will be used. Reinhart will eat a significant chunk of what they now have available. Because of that, Zito may not be able to afford Alexander Wennberg, Lucas Wallmark, Brandon Montour, and/or Nikita Gusev. They are all set to hit free agency on Wednesday, and it grows increasingly likely that they won’t return to the Panthers. At least, all four won’t be able to be retained, so the team must decide who (if any) they will bring back.
Coyotes Weaponizing Cap Space in Rebuild
On the other hand, the Coyotes continue to embrace a full-blown rebuild. New general manager Bill Armstrong continues to weaponize cap space to stock their cupboards full of prospects and draft picks. They retained some of the salary from Oliver Ekman-Larsson and added Loui Eriksson, Antoine Roussel, and Jay Beagle in the same move. All three of those new Coyotes carry one year remaining on their respective contracts, each considered to be overpayments. They also added defenceman Shayne Gostisbehere at a high price point, plus buried the contract of Andrew Ladd. Every single one of those additions came with prospects and draft picks to make the acquisition worthwhile for Arizona. This trade for Anton Stralman is no different.
Panthers Future is Bright
Should all those pending free agents walk, the team shouldn’t have any trouble courting replacements via free agency. With a top-six that includes Reinhart, Bennett, Aleksander Barkov, Jonathan Huberdeau, Anthony Duclair, and Carter Verhaeghe, this team is dynamic, to say the least. And of course, that’s without noting Patric Hornqvist, Frank Vatrano, or Owen Tippett, plus a variety of young prospects fighting for minutes with the big club.
Defensively, Stralman and Keith Yandle are both now gone, but, Aaron Ekblad will return healthy. What’s more, they already have seven guys (including Ekblad) on the backend under contract at the NHL level. As a result, Florida most likely will carry the cap space they created via this trade to the deadline in 2022 and re-assess then