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.

Doug Pederson: For the Eagles, 'this was a good benchmark'

Doug Pederson: For the Eagles, 'this was a good benchmark'

On his way to the locker room following his team's stunning 34-3 victory over the Steelers, Eagles head coach Doug Pederson reacted, well, like you probably did.

Pederson had to be surprised by what had just transpired. After all, this wasn't the Browns or the Bears. This was the Steelers, who entered the game with the second-best odds behind New England, per Bovada, of winning the Super Bowl (the Patriots were first). 

And the Eagles didn't just beat them. They clobbered them.

But minutes later, when Pederson met the media for his postgame press conference, he tried his best to act like it was no big thing.

“I told the team way back in OTAs that it just takes a little bit of belief," Pederson said. "Belief in themselves. Trust the process. Believe in the coaches and the coaches believe in one another. That’s what they did tonight. 

"Am I surprised? A little. But at the same time, I know that locker room, I know those guys and I know what they are building. By no means have we accomplished anything yet. The season is still extremely young. But what they did tonight just proves that they are coming together as a football team.”

Yeah, yeah. Sorry, Doug. It's OK to be surprised. Scratch that. Make that stunned. This was supposed to be a rebuilding year. But now? Forget that. 

At least for the next two weeks. The Eagles are on their bye week and don't play again until Oct. 9 at Detroit. 

“It is still a young season, only three games. This was a good benchmark," Pederson said. "That’s a good football team, the Steelers are a great football team. They are going to be there at the end, they always are. Coach (Mike) Tomlin always has those guys ready to play. 

"But for our guys, it is just a little glimpse of that belief that I have been saying since the spring and summer. If they just do their jobs, I just feel that good things can happen. We just protect each other in that dressing room in there and keep coming to work everyday.”

Pederson is the only head coach in team history to win each of his first three games. It's only the ninth time the Eagles have started 3-0.

And of course, a big reason they've done so is their prodigy quarterback Carson Wentz, who became only the second rookie in team history to record a 300-yard passing game (Nick Foles is the other).

More impressively, Wentz now has attempted 102 straight passes without an interception, the longest streak ever begin an NFL career (per ESPN). Dallas'  Dak Prescott is at 99 after the Cowboys beat up the Bears.

But don't ask Pederson to admit he's amazed by Wentz or the fact he had the presence of mind to make plays like the riveting 73-yard TD pass to Darren Sproles (much more on that here).

“You know, you just put on his college film. Just watch him," Pederson said. "We exhausted his college tape and those were the plays that he made at North Dakota State. That play tonight was just a tremendous play by both he and Darren Sproles. Those are the types of things that we know he can do. He just keeps gaining confidence every single week.”

As does the defense, which kept one of the league's most potent offenses out of the end zone

"They just weren’t going to be denied," Pederson said. "They just weren’t going to bow their necks. They weren’t going to let them in the endzone. It just came down to our will versus theirs and I was just so happy with the way the guys played. Just a great team effort.”   

Report: Nerlens Noel upset with Sixers' situation at center

Report: Nerlens Noel upset with Sixers' situation at center

After being in the middle of trade rumors over the last few months, Nerlens Noel appears to frustrated with his situation with the Sixers, according to the Inquirer's Keith Pompey.

The Sixers have three starting-caliber centers — Noel, Jahlil Okafor and Joel Embiid, who's now healthy — heading into this season.

"I think it's just silly," Noel told Pompey. "With the departure of [former general manager and president] Sam Hinkie, I would have figured that management would be able to set something done this summer.

"Don't get me wrong. We all get along great on the court and off the court. But at the end of the day, it's like having three starting quarterbacks. It doesn't make any sense.

"And it's just not going to work to anybody's advantage having that on the same team. That's how I'm looking at it. I'm not opposed to anything, but things need to be situated."

The Sixers flirted with having two big men on the court at the same time last season, with Noel and Okafor but with no real success. 

He has a point, and the team knows it.

During the summer, reports swirled saying the Sixers were looking to trade either Noel or Okafor for backcourt help.

Noel, who's in the final year of his rookie contract, doesn't appear to believe the current situation will work.

"I think something needs to happen," he said.