The Tampa Bay Lightning continued retooling their roster on Tuesday, taking a bite out of the Big Apple in the process. On the first day of free agency, they signed defenseman Anton Stralman to a five-year contract, forward Brian Boyle to a three-year contract and goaltender Evgeni Nabokov to a one-year deal. The former two came from the New York Rangers, while the latter comes over from the New York Islanders.
While the financial terms were not released by the Lightning, Stralman will reportedly have an average annual value of $4.5 million. Boyle’s is worth $2 million per season, while Nabokov’s deal is for $1.55 million.
The 27-year-old Stralman had 13 points in 81 games for the Rangers last season. He emerged as a solid shut down defenseman during their playoff run, posting a plus-four rating against top lines, and adding five assists.
“He's responsible defensively,” said Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman of Stralman. “I saw him play in Europe before he came to North America, and he was more of an offensive defenseman. He's transitioned into a really stable, solid player.”
The 29-year-old Brian Boyle is a big center (6’7”) who is good at faceoffs and has a penchant for coming up big in the playoffs. He had 18 points in the regular season, adding eight more in the postseason for the Rangers.
"He allows us to get bigger," said Yzerman of Boyle. "He's a good, solid defensive forward, a good competitor, a good penalty-killer.”
The 38-year-old Nabokov provides a solid veteran backup to play behind starter Ben Bishop. IN 40 games for the Islanders last season, Nabokov posted a .905 save percentage and a 2.74 goals against average, en route to 15 wins.
"We had a list of goaltenders, and we felt we could get one of them," said Yzerman. "At the end of the day, we got the one with the most experience."