The trade of Islanders captain Mark Streit to the Philadelphia Flyers came as a surprise this afternoon, even if so much of the surrounding circumstances are old news.
We learned last week while dissecting what would be Streit's final season on Long Island, that the Swiss national's salary demands outpaced what the team was offering. Throw in a few prospects worth getting a look at and the emergence of waiver pick-ups Brian Strait and Thomas Hickey and suddenly the captain, of all people, looks more and more like the odd man out.
Judging by last season, the Flyers need all they help they can get on defense. And Philly being Philly, Streit's age and asking price aren't enough to scare off Paul Holmgren. The already warm buyout talk about Daniel Briere and Iyla Bryzgalov will only intensify if the Flyers end up signing Streit to the three-year $5.5-$6 million a season he was reportedly asking for.
Considering the other free agent defensemen available this summer (Ron Hainsey! Marek Zidlicky! Ryan Whitney's knees!), Streit was/is looking at a big pay day from someone. It just wasn't going to be the Islanders. By making the trade, Holmgren gets first crack at the belle of the ball.
So the Islanders get a fourth rounder in next year's draft and left wing Shane Harper, who spent last season between Adirondack of the AHL and Trenton of the ECHL. His stats are... all over the place, but it seems as if he was a throw in to keep the Flyers under the 50-contract limit. At 6' and 190 pounds, I'm sure he'll be labeled "too small" anyway. He's also an RFA this summer.
And thus ends the Mark Streit era for the Islanders. An excellent player, an occasional magician and a very good captain and teacher during a difficult time for the franchise. Should the Islanders go on to have success without him, the records won't do justice to the hard work and smiling face he put on while trudging through some long rough patches during his five year tour. Whether he stays with the Flyers or signs elsewhere, he has my respect always.
The bad news is that now I'm in the market for a new shir-sey to replace my No. 2 one. I think I'll pick up a No. 3 Hamonic shirt the next time I'm near the Coliseum.
And now, a Top 10 Tribute to Mark Streit, courtesy of MikB.
TOP 10 REASONS FOR THE STREIT for HARPER AND A FOURTH TRADE
10. Apparently you can just stick anybody next to Tavares and get 50 points out of him.
9. Thought they were getting Bryce Harper… and anytime you can deal for a guy like Bryce Harper, you have to pull the trigger.
8. Harper… that’s the guy who makes the lager, right? Love that stuff!
7. NHL.com had that "Hats off to Harper" headline just sitting around gathering dust, so we did them a friendly.
6. We didn’t have enough people to inexplicably start over David Ullström.
5. Well, we were gonna take Pronger or Bryzgalov under the little-known "Isles must solve somebody’s cap problems once per season" rule, but decided to save it for the inevitable Luongo trade.
4. Cappy heard "Shane" and swore he’d hold his breath until the trade was made. Apparently Cappy’s a big
Paul NewmanAlan Ladd fan.
3. A fourth-round pick! JUST SITTING THERE! Like, Ken Morrow, Greg Gilbert, and Mikko Makkela were fourth-rounders!
2. "27 points in 13 ECHL games! EXTEND THE MAN!" –IslesFaninNJ
1. Some fan named "Wendon Britt" has been giving Streit a hard time about not being tougher than an SUV, so he got this crazy idea…