SUN Hockey Pool

Stralman destined to be a Flame

Prior to being drafted by the Toronto Maple Leafs in 2005, Stralman considered himself a Flames...

Prior to being drafted by the Toronto Maple Leafs in 2005, Stralman considered himself a Flames fan. (Toronto Sun/Dave Abel)

STEVE MACFARLANE, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 3:31 PM ET

Unheralded as Anton Stralman may be to Calgary Flames faithful, the Swedish defenceman knows plenty about his new team.

Prior to being drafted by the Toronto Maple Leafs in 2005, Stralman considered himself a Flames fan.

"Both me and my big brother were cheering for the Flames a long time -- it's kind of exciting," Stralman said over the phone from Sweden this week.

"Five years back, 10 years back, every time we played one of the NHL video games, we always played Calgary."

Figuring his inherited attraction to the Flames began when countryman Hakan Loob was making things happen in the Stampede City before returning to Farjestads for the latter half of his professional career, Stralman is eager to attend training camp with big brother's more current hero.

"He's a huge fan of Jarome Iginla," said Stralman, who is now an even bigger fan of the franchise.

"I'm really excited to try and be part of it. It's a good trade for me. I come to an organization that really has something that's already working."

Shipped to the Flames in a swap that sent forward Wayne Primeau and a second-round draft pick to the Toronto Maple Leafs in exchange for forward Colin Stuart and a seventh-round selection, Stralman wasn't surprised when he received a late call Monday night.

"About 11:30 p.m. Swedish time," Stralman said of the brief chat he had with Toronto Marlies GM Jeff Jackson.

"It was pretty late. It was a quick two-minute call."

Other than the lateness of the ringing, Stralman can't say he was surprised the call came.

The Leafs had a surplus of defencemen, and the soon-to-be 23-year-old had a feeling he no longer fit into their plans.

"I was kind of prepared for it. We knew -- I think everybody knew -- it was pretty clear they had an overload of d-men and they were trying to trade two of them," Stralman said. "I kind of felt it coming a little bit."

Getting a head-start on packing, Stralman is ready to leave Sweden next week after four days of an informal Olympic orientation in his homeland, where he'll get together with potential 2010 teammates for golf, meetings and a U2 concert in Gothenburg Friday night.

"We're not on the ice or anything," he said with a laugh.

More time with his family and friends is all that separates him from an early landing in Calgary a month before training camp opens at the Saddledome.

Expecting his second baby to be born sometime before he reports to the team for his physical, Stralman and his wife have plenty of logistics to sort out over the next few weeks.

"I'm already pretty much packed to go over next week," Stralman said.

"We're having our second baby early in September. We thought we might just go over right now instead of waiting to give birth here."

STEVE.MACFARLANE@SUNMEDIA.CA


Videos

Photos