Defenseman Anton Stralman will return to the lineup tonight after missing two games with a strained shoulder. In three games so far the 24-year-old registered two assists but his biggest asset is the ability to quarterback the powerplay.
Through the team’s first five games they have managed a paltry 9.1 percent with the man advantage, so it certainly is an area they hope to improve on moving forward.
Stralman feels ready but might not be 100 percent, as he explained to Aaron Portzline of The Columbus Dispatch:
“It’s a little sore still,” Stralman said. “But I shouldn’t be able to hurt it any worse. I’m looking forward to it.
“I had the same thing a couple of years ago (in my right shoulder). The concern is more about what I can do, how I can play. I’m not afraid to take a hit. Shooting is no problem. That’s no issue at all.”
The Blue Jackets can certainly use Stralman, especially on the power play. Blue Jackets coach Scott Arniel agreed, although he would not confirm that Stralman is back in the lineup tonight.
“If we can get (Stralman) in there, it will certainly help things a lot,” Arniel said. “You have to be dangerous from the top in order for all the cute stuff (down low) to become a part of it.”
Last season, the former Toronto Maple Leaf broke out with a respectable 6 goals and 28 assists; 22 of those 28 came via powerplay.