The Maple Leafs blue line is becoming crowded.
Swedish defenceman Anton Stralman is the most recent addition to the mix, signing a three-year, entry-level contract with Toronto yesterday.
Stralman, the 216th pick in the 2005 NHL entry draft, has rocketed up the depth chart in his native country. He was named one of the top three players on Team Sweden by his coaches during the recently completed world hockey championship in Moscow.
WANTS A SPOT
During the tournament, Stralman, 20, told a Swedish publication that he was intent on making the Leafs roster next season.
The story indicated Stralman does not want to be a member of the AHL's Marlies and would rather return to the Swedish elite league if management wants to send him to the farm.
Either way, Leafs general manager John Ferguson is happy to add depth on defence.
"Anton is a top-level defenceman in the Swedish elite league whose hockey sense and puck-moving ability makes him a real asset," Ferguson said.
"We are looking forward to training camp and feel that he is well-suited for the new NHL style of play."
Stralman, who had 21 points in 53 games for Timra IK of the Swedish league, will try to crack a corps that features Bryan McCabe, Ian White, Tomas Kaberle, Pavel Kubina, Hal Gill, Carlo Colaiacovo and prospects Andy Wozniewski, Staffan Kronwall and Jay Harrison.