Flyers acquire D Mark Streit from Islanders

Flyers acquire D Mark Streit from Islanders

June 12, 2013, 1:30 pm

It’s going to be a busy late June and month of July for the Flyers.
 
Failing to make the playoffs, is one reason for such.
 
Restructuring a poor defense, is another.
 
The latter process began Wednesday afternoon when the Flyers acquired the rights to Islanders defenseman Mark Streit in exchange for a fourth-round pick in the 2014 draft plus prospect Shane Harper.
 
Streit, 35, is a pending unrestricted free agent, but the Flyers now can sign him to a new deal even before July 5 when the market opens. His agent is Pat Brisson, who also represents Danny Briere and Claude Giroux.
 
Brisson told CSNPhilly.com he’d like a deal before July. You can be certain general manager Paul Holmgren already had a number in mind before he made this trade.
 
Streit, who was earning $4.1 million as an Islander (5-year, $20.5 million contract), will be looking to get overpaid in a weak free-agent market -- $5 million at the very least and $5.8 million at the high end. He’ll also want a contract length of 3-5 years.
 
“It's an exciting time for me,” Streit said. “Obviously I'm excited to get traded to Philadelphia. I'm not sure what's going to happen the next few weeks -- or days -- it's part of my agent's job to work that out with Paul, but Philly has an unbelievable team.
 
“It's a great franchise and a great city and it's a hockey town for sure. The fans there are great and that's why I always liked playing in Philly. The team is really good. It's well-structured. It's young and fast and it would be a great honor to play for the Flyers.”
 
As the playoffs are currently ongoing (Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final begins tonight in Chicago), NHL teams out of contention are free to make trades only with other teams who have also been eliminated.
 
“Mark is a player we would have had interest in on July 5,” Holmgren said in a statement. “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.”
 
Because Streit would be a 35-plus contract, his cap hit would count even if he retires before his deal were to end.
 
His expected salary is another reason why the club will likely buy out Briere. They'll need much of the $6.5 million Briere earns to pay Streit.  (Others say the club will buy out goalie Ilya Bryzgalov, but club chairman Ed Snider now has twice given a vote of confidence to the Russian netminder since March.)
 
Streit expressed confidence that a deal would get done with the Flyers.
 
“I'm pretty confident,” he said. “I think that maybe they need a few days or weeks, but I'm pretty positive. It'd be awesome to play for the Flyers.
 
“The future is bright. They were in the Cup Finals three years ago and there is so much skill and a great mix between veteran players and young players, so I'm pretty confident and I truly hope it's going to get done soon.”
 
Streit, who turns 36 in December, was a late-comer to the NHL. He was 26 when drafted in the ninth round by Montreal in 2004 after spending his entire career playing in Europe for various teams in his native Switzerland. He represented his country a dozen times at the IIHF World Championships.

This is beneficial to him -- because he's only spent seven seasons in the NHL, his body hasn't taken the beating that most players his age would have in the NHL.
 
Streit has played just 491 NHL games. Hence, he should have more miles left to give.
 
The obvious plus side to Streit is that he is strong with the puck, skates well and has been very good on the power play over the years. He has 36 power play goals in seven NHL seasons and had 11 power-play points last season on an Islanders club that ranked 11th in the league.
 
He averaged almost four minutes of power-play time per game and logged 23 minutes overall ice time a night -- another plus. He also had 86 blocked shots -- third-highest on the Isles -- and 34 hits in 48 games.
 
Of concern here is that he was minus-14 on an Islanders team that wasn’t as good as the Flyers, yet made the playoffs when the Flyers didn’t.
 
The Flyers' defense remains a work in progress, especially given the uncertainty of Andrej Meszaros, who suffered a series of injuries last season, including a surgically repaired left shoulder.
 
The assumption is that Nicklas Grossmann, who missed the final 18 games of the season with a concussion, will also be healthy. Though only 28, he has two banged up knees that in hockey years are older than his actual age.
 
The bad news is, the Flyers' best defensemen are old. Kimmo Timonen turns 39 in March and has been very susceptible to injury in recent years.
 
Given the fact the club went through defensemen like Snicker bars last season because of an incalculable number of serious injuries, no one should feel confident with this group until all members are accounted for and deemed “healthy” when training camp arrives in September.
 
Just because the Flyers added Streit doesn’t mean it’s over. If they can find a younger, impact blue liner, they will.
 
Their priority in the NHL draft should be to make a defenseman their top selection at No. 11 overall.
 
The Flyers remain the only NHL club without a single, active drafted-defenseman since the decade began playing regular minutes for them -- not someone else.
 
It’s something they need to be reminded of because this draft is overflowing with defensemen.
 
As for what the Flyers gave up here, Harper, 24, spent most of last season with the Flyers' AHL affiliate, the Adirondack Phantoms. He scored five goals and added five assists in 48 games. He also recorded 27 points (14 goals) in 15 ECHL games with the Trenton Titans.

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