Former Isles Defenseman Mark Streit is Ours! .....well, maybe

Created 5 years 70 days ago
by Michael DeNicola

Tags: Mark Streit New York Islanders Philadelphia Flyers Shane Harper
Views: 2068

written by Michael DeNicola

Wednesday, June 12, 2013 --

There it is, the Flyers first offseason movement to spark what is hopefully a lot of proactive planning. 

The Islanders' former chief, Mark Streit, is ours to negotiate with until he hits the unrestricted free agent market on July 5th. The Flyers wound up dealing a 4th Round 2014 Draft pick and 24-year old RFA RW Shane Harper for Streit's negotiating rights. 

Some things to note before getting into the player's statistics...

  • This almost guarantees that the Flyers plan on exercising BOTH League-given compliance buyouts this summer. Streit is seeking somewhere in the realm of 2-years, $11M ($5.5mm AAV). At the moment, the Philadelphia Flyers have negative cap space (-$2,552,262 to be exact) with five must-sign restricted free agents coming up between this year and the end of next League Year. No one in this sort of financial crisis just trades away a draft pick and a player with 1) No intent to sign the incoming UFA, and 2) No intent to cut costs on a drastic measure.
  • Streit is a 35-year old NHLer. Any contract he signs with Philadelphia (or any team, for that matter) will be a 35+ Contract; in a nutshell, this is exactly the same thing Chris Pronger's contract fell under. No matter what, Streit's cap hit counts against our cap -- doesn't matter if he retires or if the Flyers were to waive his contract and place him in the minors. This is some serious shit, and the Flyers have absolutely NO more wiggle room for contractual gambles. If he signs here in Philly, you can bet your ass that both buyouts will be spent this summer. 
  • Streit allegedly turned down a 3-year, $14.25M ($4.75mm AAV) extension from the Islanders. This doesn't necessarily mean he's looking for MORE money. Rather, it's more likely that Streit's ready to move on from the Club he's spent the last five seasons with. 

"Mark is a player we would have had interest in on July 5th," said Flyers general manager Paul Holmgren. "We now have exclusive negotiating rights and we are hopeful that we can get an agreement in place prior to him becoming an unrestricted free agent." []

Mark is a puck-moving specialist. He's what the scouts call an "offensive-defenseman." More importantly, Streit is a veteran blueliner who's made his money managing a successful breakout, which the Flyers are desperately missing from their zone defense. When you succeed at the breakout, you also encompass a strong knack for anticipating the play in front of you -- both offensively, and the opposing forecheck. This is yet another key aspect the Flyers are lacking from the majority of their players in their own zone. 

In the 2012-13 season, Streit was tied at 6th overall in scored points (27) among NHL defensemen; that's good enough to land him above notable d-men like WSH Mike Green, ANA Francois Beauchemin, STL Alex Pietrangelo and Kevin Shattenkirk, PHO Oliver Ekman-Larsson, and LAK Drew Doughty.

Mark spent the majority of his ice time guarding the Islanders bluline behind John Tavares and Matt Moulson. Those two forwards happened to secure New York's Top 2 leading point-getters for 2012-13 (Tavares 47, Moulson 44). You slap Streit on the blueline feeding Voracek and Giroux some stretch passes, and you're absolutely going to see results. 

But no worries; Streit doesn't need his team's leading scorers to get his points. 

In 2007-08 with Montreal, Streit tallied a career high 62-points (13 G, 49 A) while spending the majority of his ice time with forwards like Bryan Smolinski (8 G, 17 A, 25pts), Michael Ryder (14 G, 17 A, 31pts) and Tom Kostopoulos (7 G, 6 A, 13pts). My argument is.... Streit's going to get his points no matter who's skating north ahead of him. 

What's best about Mark Streit is that he's incredibly durable, despite his seasoned age of 35 (turning 36 in December). He played all 48-games this past season, all 82 in 2011-12 and 2009-10. Unfortunately a horrendous shoulder injury sidelined the defenseman for the entire 2010-11 campaign. But aside from that rare occurrence, his hand will be permanently raised at roll call. 

On top of his durability lies the fact that he can log BIG minutes. In his last four seasons with New York (minus the one he missed due to the shoulder injury), Streit's averaged 24:25 of time on-ice per game. Granted, the majority of that time is not spent throwing hits or blocking too many shots, but that's why we have d-men like Luke Schenn and Nicklas Grossmann. But instead, his role is primarily the back-side defenseman who takes on the responsibility of reading what's in front of him. 

Kimmo Timonen is incapable of absorbing all of that responsibility. It's a lot for just one player, not to mention there's talks of this 2013-14 season being Kimmo's final year on the ice. 

Adding Mark Streit to the defensive core will spill outward offensively and keep the possession strong through neutral ice and into enemy territory. 

You're concerned about his age and how it'll reflect on a 35+ contract. Though adding more of those committal agreements is not ideal in the Flyers case, I take comfort in knowing it'll absolutely force the organization to use their compliance buyouts. 

In the meantime, Philadelphia has the rights to negotiate with one of the League's more talented offensive-defensemen. If the contract winds up being pragmatic, this is definitely the first step to a much more proactive philosophical approach. Especially if the Flyers wind up drafting a Rasmus Ristolainen or Ryan Pulock type defenseman [O&BP] on June 30; Streit acts as an interim player at his role, while our offensive-defensive prospect develops in the Flyers farm affiliated systems. 

I am absolutely a fan of this move.

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