Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Mark Streit Autographed Card

There were three news-worthy stories in the NHL yesterday, and I went with the Robin Lehner contract signing first because, well, it happened in the morning while I was on my laptop. But there were two other signings yesterday, namely Mika Zibanejad and Mark Streit.

I'll get to both this week, but let's start with one that is local to me, Streit returning to the Montréal Canadiens after winning a Stanley Cup as a #8 defenseman with the Pittsburgh Penguins. Indeed, the veteran defeseman and former captain of the New York Islanders inked a one-year deal with a $700K cap hit, which is similar to what he used to earn in his first turn with the Habs, back when it wasn't clear if he could earn a permanent spot on an NHL defense corps. With the same coach as during his rookie season, Claude Julien.

Streit's come a very long way since the 2005-06 season, however. He exploded with 13 goals and a career-high 62 points playing alongside Andrei Markov in 2007-08, enabling him to sign a lucrative free agent contract with the Isles, with whom he had four very productive seasons, including a career-high 16 goals in 2008-09, the year he led the team in points with 56, well ahead of Kyle Okposo (39), Doug Weight (38), and Frans Nielsen (33), all of whom are forwards.

He then went on to have two very productive seasons as the Philadelphia Flyers' best defenseman, finishing fifth in team scoring in 2013-14 (with 10 goals and 44 points) and third in 2014-15 with 52 points. His age caught up to him in the last two seasons, and while he was no longer worth his $5.25M cap hit per se (though having surpassed his worth for the first two seasons, the end result is a wash, in my opinion), his production did mirror his actual salary and he did find ways to be useful.

Indeed, experience made him a better all-around defender, and his play in his own zone has greatly improved from his rookie season, going from being a liability to above-average and sliding back down to average, now that he's not as quick as he used to be. He can be a third-pair guy and not cost his team too many games. As a matter of fact, he did garner two assists in three Conference Finals games for the Pens against the Ottawa Senators and was a -1, so he contributed more than he cost.

GM Marc Bergevin had better come to terms with Markov, though, because Streit simply cannot replace him - not even on the powerplay.

Here's one from Streit's days on Long Island, wearing the team's classic blue (now-home) uniform, the captain's "C" in full display, on card #463 from Upper Deck's 2013-14 O-Pee-Chee collection:
He signed it in blue sharpie at last year's World Cup, as he suited up for a Team Europe squad that played their exhibition games at the Bell Centre.

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