The Philadelphia Flyers acquired defenseman Mark Streit from the New York Islanders Wednesday for minor-league forward Shane Harper and a fourth-round pick in 2014.
Streit, the Islanders’ team captain, has 65 goals and 288 points in 491 regular-season NHL games, and is a sharp, left-handed shot from the blue line that is much-needed as Philadelphia reshapes its roster.
Streit, though, is scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent on July 5, meaning he can sign anywhere. But the Flyers now own his rights until then, and can negotiate a new deal with him exclusively until that time.
”I’m pretty confident,” Streit said when asked about the chances that the Flyers and his representation can connect on a deal. ”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 (Stanley) 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.
”I truly hope it’s going to get done soon.”
The 35-year-old Streit joined the Islanders as a free agent in 2008, led the team in scoring his first season with 56 points and was an All-Star. Should he stay with Philadelphia, he would bolster the Flyers’ backline, which was decimated by injuries last season and was a prime reason the club did not make the postseason.
”This year was a short season and they had lots of injuries,” Streit said. ”That makes it tough. It was a special year because of the lockout. That gave an advantage to some teams and some teams struggled. But when you see the Flyers lineup, it is a playoff team. It’s no question to me. I believe the Flyers will be in the playoffs next year. They have the skill and the physical part of it.
”It’s a great group and I’d love to join that team.”
Streit made $4.1 million this season in New York, and had six goals and 27 points.
”Mark is a player we would have had interest in on July 5th,” Flyers general manager Paul Holmgren said. ”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.”
Though he has impressive scoring totals for a defenseman, Streit’s value — and his reputation around the league — is more for being a workhorse and an anchor on the backline. This season, as the Islanders secured the No. 8 seed in the Eastern Conference, Streit played in all 48 games. He also had three goals and five points in a six-game, first-round loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Streit also played for Switzerland’s Olympic team in 2006 and 2010.
Harper had 20 goals and 21 assists over parts of four seasons with the AHL’s Phantoms.