Stralman's getting noticed

RANDY SPORTAK, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 8:59 PM ET

Amidst a 4-1 defeat, there aren’t many positives to find.

Anton Stralman was, however, a rare standout for the Flames in Tuesday’s pre-season loss to the Edmonton Oilers.

In his post-game address, Flames head coach Brent Sutter said the young defenceman was probably the “best player on the ice.”

“I had no idea about that, but that’s great news,” Stralman said after Sutter’s words were relayed to him. “It’s always fun to get positive feedback. It felt good, felt all right. The first game, I don’t think anyone can make much out of it, but it’s a good start.”

Stralman played more than 27 minutes against the Oilers and collected a couple of shots on goal, a hit, a giveaway and five blocked shots.

“It was a struggle sometimes. I got caught in the second period a couple of times,” he said. “It was a lot of fun to play that much. It’s been a while since I played that much in one game.”

It’s a strong debut for Stralman, who is in a tough battle for a NHL roster spot.

Calgary has seven blueliners with one-way contracts, and Stralman, who was acquired in a summertime deal that saw Wayne Primeau go to the Toronto Maple Leafs, isn’t one of them. However, he must to clear waivers to go to the minors, which would be a dicey proposition since it’s hard to believe a team out there wouldn’t gladly scoop up the young and talented blueliner.

That potential situation is down the road. For now, he’s only concerned about making the Flames, even if it will be a tough task.

“It’s competition every day and you have to show you best side every day and really be on top,” he said.

It’s not much different from his situation last season with Toronto. Last season, he was shuttled regularly between the Leafs and the AHL Marlies because the Leafs had a boatload of defencemen.

It’s the same in Calgary, but Stralman is happy to be part of the dogfight.

“I think it was a good move to get out of there and positive to get here. I like the city and all the guys on the team,” he said.


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