Flyers Trade for Rights to Islanders Defenseman Mark Streit

Flyers Trade for Rights to Islanders Defenseman Mark Streit

It appears the Flyers may have landed their veteran defenseman, and they didn’t have to give up Brayden Schenn or Sean Couturier to do it. The team announced on Wednesday that they have acquired the rights to New York Islanders captain Mark Streit in exchange for prospect Shane Harper and a fourth-round pick in 2014.

Streit is set to become an unrestricted free agent on July 5, but by trading for him now the Flyers have an exclusive window to negotiate a new deal before he officially reaches the market. General manager Paul Holmgren told Flyers Insider Anthony SanFilippo he is “hopeful” the two sides can come to terms.

Streit turns 36 in December, and is coming off of a five-year contract worth $20.5 million, or $4.1 mil per season. He and the Islanders were described as far apart in negotiations when talks broke off last week. From Newsday via ProHockeyTalk, the team was offering three years at $4.75 per, but Streit was said to be looking for north of $5.5M.

Assuming the Flyers’ front office can get him signed (and to something reasonable at that), Streit could make a major impact on a back end that was crippled by injuries last season, not to mention never found an adequate replacement for its best puck mover in Matt Carle.

An All Star in 2009, Streit is one of the more offensively-gifted defensemen in the NHL. He racked up six goals and 21 assists over a 48-game season in 2013. Over the previous five full seasons he averaged 50 points, racking up double digit goals in four, and cracking 40 assists in three. Almost half of Streit’s 288 career points over seven seasons have come on the power play (141), where he is perhaps at his finest. He can play point guard, or unleash a huge left-hand shot.

Streit can get into trouble at his own end though. Listed at 5’11”, 191 lbs., he isn’t necessarily the most physical presence on the ice. Since missing the 2010-11 season with a shoulder injury, his defense has been especially suspect. Streit is a -41 over the last two years, which granted is not a perfect measurement, but does give us some idea it’s not been great.

Pairing Streit with a solid stay-at-home defender such as Luke Schenn or Nicklas Grossmann could help alleviate some of those concerns. Streit has also proven durable, playing every game for the Islanders in three of the past four seasons, so at least the Flyers can reasonably count on him to suit up most nights.

Obviously whether or not he signs and for how much will play into the final analysis. However, when you consider what the Flyers gave up for Streit’s rights – a 24-year-old wing who is nowhere near ready, and a fourth rounder next year – it seems a perfectly acceptable risk.

Had they waited until July, Streit would have been one of the better unrestricted free agents available. And while there has been a lot of talk of trading for younger, better players who may or may not have status as a top blueliner, any package that leads with B. Schenn or Couturier is a steep price to pay – even then, there was no guarantee they would be able to land a “number one.”

Streit’s offensive ability brings a dynamic to the Flyers’ rearguard that was missing for much of last season. In the right pairing, he might be serviceable in his defensive responsibilities. Don’t overlook what an upgrade it would be just to have somebody that’s available to play on a nightly basis, either.

There’s no denying the Streit acquisition has something of a stopgap feel to it. Ideally Holmgren would not be chasing down 35-year-old defensemen. Then again, there were going to be a lot of unhappy campers if talented, young building blocks were moved for most players, and nobody would have been happy if the team did nothing at all.

Best of NBA: Rockets overcome Westbrook's 7th straight triple-double

Best of NBA: Rockets overcome Westbrook's 7th straight triple-double

OKLAHOMA CITY -- James Harden scored 21 points, and the Houston Rockets overcame Russell Westbrook's seventh consecutive triple-double to beat the Oklahoma City Thunder 102-99 on Friday night.

Harden also had 12 assists and nine rebounds to help the Rockets win their fifth straight. Houston withstood Harden's 6-for-23 shooting effort.

Westbrook finished with 27 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists. He has the longest triple-double streak since Michael Jordan had seven straight in 1989. The most in a row is nine by Philadelphia's Wilt Chamberlain in March 1968.

It was Westbrook's 12th triple-double this season and the 49th of his career. He is the NBA's active leader in the category and ranks sixth all-time.

The Thunder had won the previous six games during Westbrook's triple-double binge (see full story).

James moves into 9th on scoring list as Cavs top Heat 114-84
CLEVELAND -- LeBron James scored 27 points to move into ninth place on the NBA scoring list, and the Cleveland Cavaliers defeated the Miami Heat 114-84 on Friday night.

James passed Elvin Hayes on a driving layup with 6:58 remaining and has 27,315 career points. The four-time MVP was removed about a minute later and received a loud ovation from the Cleveland crowd.

Kevin Love, a game-time decision because of back spasms, scored a team-high 28 points and had 15 rebounds for the Cavaliers. He missed the morning shootaround but was in the lineup after warming up on the court about an hour before tip-off.

Kyrie Irving added 23 points for the Cavs, who have won three straight after losing three in a row.

Derrick Williams scored 17 points to lead the short-handed Heat, who have lost four straight (see full story). 

Schroder has career-high 33, Hawks rally past Bucks 114-110
MILWAUKEE -- Dennis Schroder scored a career-high 33 points and the Atlanta Hawks rallied from 20 down in the second half to defeat the Milwaukee Bucks 114-110 on Friday night.

Paul Millsap had 23 points and 14 rebounds for Atlanta. Tim Hardaway Jr. scored 18.

The Hawks, who ended a seven-game losing streak Wednesday with a win over Miami, trailed by 20 at halftime. A 40-point third quarter put them back in the game.

Jabari Parker scored 27 for Milwaukee. Giannis Antetokounmpo, in foul trouble throughout the game, had 14.

Atlanta pulled ahead 105-103 on Kyle Korver's jumper with 3:15 remaining, giving the Hawks their first lead since early in the game (see full story). 

Best of NHL: Blue Jackets top Red Wings to notch 5th straight win

Best of NHL: Blue Jackets top Red Wings to notch 5th straight win

DETROIT -- Brandon Dubinsky scored a tiebreaking goal in the second period and the surging Columbus Blue Jackets won their fifth straight game, 4-1 over the Detroit Red Wings on Friday night.

Lukas Sedlak got his first NHL goal for the Blue Jackets, who have earned at least a point in 12 of their last 13 games. Cam Atkinson contributed a short-handed goal in the first period for Columbus.

Dylan Larkin's power-play goal in the second was the only scoring of the night for the Red Wings. Sergei Bobrovsky had 32 saves for the Blue Jackets.

Sam Gagner scored into an empty net with 13.9 seconds remaining (see full story). 

Staal scores in 6th round of SO to lift Wild over Oilers
ST. PAUL, Minn. -- Eric Staal scored in the sixth round of a shootout and the Minnesota Wild beat the Edmonton Oilers 3-2 on Friday night.

Matt Dumba and Jason Zucker scored in regulation for Minnesota, which has won three straight.

Wild goalie Devan Dubnyk made 25 saves. He entered with a league-best .946 save percentage and 1.65 goals-against average.

Leon Draisaitl and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins had goals for the Oilers, whose four-game losing streak began with a 2-1 home overtime loss to the Wild last Sunday.

Staal scored on a backhand deke before Nugent-Hopkins fired wide in the sixth round (see full story). 

Raanta, Rangers beat Blackhawks 1-0 in overtime
CHICAGO -- Nick Holden scored 55 seconds into overtime, Antti Raanta made 26 saves against his former team and the New York Rangers beat the Chicago Blackhawks 1-0 on Friday night.

Derek Stepan passed from the boards to a streaking Holden in the middle of the ice, and he beat Scott Darling on the stick side for his fourth goal of the season.

Darling was going for his second straight shutout while subbing for injured starter Corey Crawford but had to settle for another solid performance.

Raanta, who made his NHL debut with Chicago in 2013 and played for the Blackhawks for two seasons before he was traded to New York, improved to 15-0-3 in 20 career appearances at the United Center.

The 27-year-old Raanta had 17 saves in Thursday's 2-1 victory at Winnipeg, and coach Alain Vigneault opted to give him a second straight start over Henrik Lundqvist because of his recent play and his success in Chicago (see full story).

Oshie, Johansson, Grubauer lift Caps over Sabres 4-1
BUFFALO, N.Y. -- T.J. Oshie and Marcus Johansson each scored a goal, Philipp Grubauer made 27 saves and the Washington Capitals beat the Buffalo Sabres 4-1 on Friday night for their third straight win.

Jakub Vrana and John Carlson also scored, helping Washington beat Buffalo for the third time in 15 days.

Kyle Okposo scored and Robin Lehner made 25 saves for Buffalo. The Sabres have lost three of their last four.

Oshie gave the Capitals a 1-0 lead 6:43 into the second period when he lifted a shot from the right edge of the crease past Lehner. Jay Beagle drew two defenders into the corner and sent the puck back to a wide open Oshie for his ninth goal of the season (see full story).