Late Wednesday morning, the New York Islanders traded the rights of the soon to be unrestricted free agent Defenseman Mark Streit to the Philadelphia Flyers, in return for forward prospect Shane Harper of the Adirondack Phantoms and a 4th round pick in the 2014 NHL draft.
Streit, who originally was drafted by the Montreal Canadiens in the 9th round, 262nd overall, signed a 5 year/$20.5 Million deal with the New York Islanders in 2008. The deal brought the offensively gifted Defenseman to Long Island, and to a team that lacked offense during the midst of a rocky rebuild period. After the retirement of Doug Weight, Streit was named Captain of the young Islanders team at the start of the 2011-12 season, and just this past season led the Islanders to the NHL Playoffs for the first time since the 2006-07 season. Streit, 35, leaves after contract negotiations broke down between him and the Islanders after a reported proposed deal of 5.5 million per season for 3 years was declined. With a weak free agent market, it’s believed that although Streit only managed 6 goals and 21 assists in 48 games this past season, he should command the market as a top UFA.
With their rights acquisition, the Philadelphia Flyers obtain valuable time to exclusively negotiate with Streit and his agent, prior to the July 5th date when he is set to hit the free agency market. Though the Flyers are over the salary cap and are coming off a disappointing season, where they dealt with multiple injuries and missed the playoffs for the first time since the 2006-07 season, they hope to find a suitable player in Streit to fill their need for an effective, offensive, mobile, puck moving Defenseman that they’ve lacked since the departure of Chris Pronger.
In return, the Islanders obtain tangible assets in Shane Harper and the Flyers 4th round pick in the 2014 NHL draft, after GM Garth Snow held his cards at the trade deadline and kept Mark Streit for their push for the playoffs. The trade also frees up a valuable defenseman position on the Islanders blueline that has slowly been patched by newcomers Lubomir Visnovsky, Thomas Hickey, Brian Strait, Matt Carkner and Joe Finley. It’s believed that Bridgeport Sound Tiger Matt Donovan has the best shot at filling the hole Streit leaves behind. Donovan, the 2008 4th round pick of Edmond, Oklahoma, has become one of the premier AHL Defenseman in just his first full season with the Sound Tigers. The University of Denver Alum was named as an AHL All-Star this year after posting up 10 goals, 35 assists for 45 points this past season. Donovan will have to compete in Training Camp against fellow Sound Tigers, Aaron Ness and Calvin DeHaan, as well as new comers/waiver wire pickups Thomas Hickey and Brian Strait for the starting job.
There has been no announcement of who will Captain the freshly revitalized New York Islanders come 2014, but it’s almost unanimously expected that the Hart trophy nominee John Tavares will definitely be a front runner for the “C” patch. Whoever is named Captain of the New York Islanders team, will have big shoes to fill coming off a successful season of finally making the playoffs, and will be expected to lead the team further into the postseason come 2014.