No strangers to making bold moves in free agency, the Philadelphia Flyers made a trade for a veteran defenceman before agreeing to terms on a four-year contract.
Numbers Game breaks down the Flyers' addition of Mark Streit.
The Flyers Get: D Mark Streit.
Streit, 35, has been among the highest-scoring defencemen in the league. Since 2007-2008, he has 241 points in 367 games (0.66 points per game), which ranks seventh among defencemen with at least 200 games played over that span.
Of course, over the last two seasons, since he returned from missing the entire 2010-2011 season with a torn labrum in his shoulder, Streit is minus-41, which is tied for worst among defencemen in that time. That doesn't all fall on Streit, however, as the Islanders have had their share of questionable goaltending and Streit's puck possession numbers were strong prior to 2013 season.
In Philadelphia, Streit can continue to play 22-23 minutes per game and anchor the power play. Again, going back to 2007-2008, Streit has 120 power play points in just over four-and-a-half seasons, so he's a decided asset with the man advantage.
There is risk involved in Streit's contract. Since he is over 35-years-of-age, it will count against the Flyers' cap even if he retires before it is complete. While it's reasonable to expect Streit to play the next couple years at a relatively high level, maybe by the time he's 38, it's possible that he's not going to be handle playing the top-four minutes that contract necessitates in order to provide value.
In addition to the Flyers most likely needing write big compliance buyout cheques to both Daniel Briere and Ilya Bryzgalov, just to squeeze Streit's deal under the salary cap, the Flyers are going to be in a position to move a defenceman because (not including Chris Prongers' contract, which surely will be allocated to long-term injured reserve) they will have more than $26-million allocated to six defencemen.
Andrej Meszaros, with one year and $4-million left on his current contract, could be the easiest to move, even after he missed 37 games due to shoulder injuries last season.
Admittedly, acquiring top-four defencemen isn't easy and adding Streit probably makes the Flyers better next year, which is one thing. What it does for them in years three and four of the deal could be another entirely.
It wouldn't be the first time that the Flyers have overspent on a free agent, and being the highest bidder leads to a likelihood of overpaying, but there is some irony involved in using two compliance buyouts on players overpaid as unrestricted free agents, in order to gain the financial flexibility to venture down the same path at a different position.
The Islanders Get: RW Shane Harper and a fourth-round pick in 2014.
Getting a fourth-round pick for Streit is pretty nice value for the Islanders, considering he was set to leave as an unrestricted free agent, which would yield nothing in return. A fourth-round pick brings slightly better than a one-in-five chance of landing an NHL player.
Harper, 24, ripped up the ECHL last season, scoring 27 points in 15 games for Trenton, but has 41 points in 143 career AHL games, making it unlikely that he's going to make the jump to the NHL at any point. His inclusion in the deal is likely more related to giving the Flyers room for new contracts. Teams are allowed to have 50 players under contract and, according to www.capgeek.com, the Flyers now have 44 signed, with six restricted free agents still waiting for deals. The Islanders, on the other hand, are nowhere near their reserve list limit.
The Islanders will have to make up for Streit's absence, particularly on the power play. Veteran Lubomir Visnovsky is already a regular on the Isles' power play, so the next best in-house option may be Matt Donovan, a 23-year-old who has 93 points in 147 AHL games over the past two seasons and is due for his chance in the NHL.