Let me see if I’ve got this story straight.
- The Flyers have reportedly agreed in principle to a four-year contract worth $21 million with 35-year-old defenseman Mark Streit (more on that later, stay with me on this), a report which general manager Paul Holmgren denies.
- Holmgren’s denial could have something to do with the fact that the Flyers cannot actually sign Streit to said contract until they’ve cleared some payroll because doing so would put them over the salary cap.
- However, the club cannot exercise compliance buyouts until two days after the Stanley Cup Finals end, so they must wait until then to rid themselves of Danny Briere’s $6.5 million cap hit – and if they wish to free up Ilya Bryzgalov’s $5.67 million figure as well while they’re at it, the Flyers need to have a trade in place for another goaltender.
- Once all of those steps are completed, the front office will have the freedom to do important things like sign certain players whose rights they recently traded for, and even extend qualifying offers to their own restricted free agents.
That’s not convoluted at all. Such is life for teams that constantly operate within a couple cents of the salary cap every year, and that cap suddenly dips 9% in one offseason – a problem that Flyers are probably further exacerbating with this Streit deal.
The main gripe here is the length. The money is the money because the reality is teams are often forced to overpay when they go about filling major needs through free agency. Streit will be 39 when his term is finally wrapping up though, and because it’s a 35-plus contract, he counts against the cap no matter what as I am sure we are all well aware.
Even three years was pushing it, but could be justified as meeting halfway – he improves the defense immediately, Kimmo Timonen coming off the books next summer pays for year two, and the third year is thank you pay. Unless Streit holds up well, the farewell tour could get ugly.
Streit has been durable, playing every regular season game in three of the last four seasons. He also has only played seven seasons logged in the NHL, so therefore doesn’t have quite the wear and tear as many players his age. His style of play is not as physical, either, which could also prolong his longevity.
Still, four years. I would have preferred they pay more than $5.25 per and get him for less time if at all possible. Harrison Mooney at Puck Daddy describes the entire package as an “incredible overpayment” and “batcrap insane.” There are no doubt many in Philadelphia who would agree.
>> Sources: Flyers agree to four-year deal with Streit [CSN]
>> For now, Flyers limited in offseason options [Courier-Post]