Friday, November 6, 2015

Mark Streit: 2 Autographed Cards

The Montréal Canadiens plowed through the New York Islanders (and my favourite goaltender Jaroslav Halak) last night, and it inspired me to feature a player who was a captain when he was with both teams, wearing the ''C'' with the Swiss Team while with the Habs and with the Isles themselves during his tenure on Long Island before signing on with the Philadelphia Flyers; I'm talking, of course, about Mark Streit.
Drafted 262nd overall by the Habs in 2004 - into his mid-twenties - Streit crossed the Atlantic to join a team that wasn't sure where to make him fit at first; he was a little tentative against the Eastern Conference's big forecheckers and became a liability in his own end at times, but his speed, booming shot and hockey sense were obvious, so head coach Guy Carbonneau used him as a bit of a rover, alternating him between the third pair on the blue line and the fourth-line up front, with some powerplay time.

Eventually, as Sheldon Souray (and his own supersonic shot) left as a free agent, Streit became the go-to guy to receive Andrei Markov's wizardly passes for one-timers, which led to a 13-goal, 62-point season in 2007-08 in which he finished 13th in Norris voting (Markov was sixth).

He would finish in the top-10 in Norris votes in his first two seasons with the Islanders, even participating in the 2009 All-Star Game held in... Montréal. That game had an extremely Canadien feel to it, featuring then-current Habs Markov, Mike Komisarek, Alexei Kovalev, and Carey Price, former Habs Streit and Souray, rumoured Hab-to-be Vincent Lecavalier, hometown boys Roberto Luongo, Stéphane Robidas, Jean-Sébastien Giguère and Martin Saint-Louis, Ottawa-region natives Marc Savard and Dan Boyle, French-Canadian Jonathan Toews, and Zach Parise, the son of former hometown hero Jean-Paul Parisé.

Nowadays, even with the Flyers' pretty awful defense, on a team that seldom wins games, Streit still gets the job done, as can be attested by his 3 goals and 4 assists (7 points) in 13 games so far this season, with only a minus-1 to account for as a differential. He put up 52 points last year, and 44 the season before that.

Granted, at 37 years of age, his best years are probably behind him, and if he wants to win a Stanley Cup, Philadelphia could do him a favour by trading his rights away for draft picks like they did Kimmo Timonen last year, but he still has another season beyond this one with a $5.25M cap hit (although it only pays $4M, so a cash-strapped team who wants to artificially reach the cap floor might be interested in taking his contract on, but those teams are rarely contenders).

I think he's better off staying in Philly and mentoring their young studs next year; it's nice to have guys like Samuel Morin, Shayne Gostisbehere and Robert Hagg in the pipeline, but they will need some dependable veteran leadership to calm them down and provide some pointers; after all, it's not like head coach Dave Hakstol has ever played in the NHL...

Here are a couple of cards he signed for me during the lock-out season (I think), first showing him wearing the Habs' white (now-away) uniform, but listing him as a member of the Islanders, from Upper Deck's 2008-09 O-Pee-Chee set (card #444 in the collection):
Then there's this ''pure'' Islanders card, from Panini's 2012-13 Score set (card $297), where he's sporting their god-awful black-orange-and-grey alternate uniform, which may have been the trial version of their current alternates:
It's hard to tell here - because those monstrosities had text (and the jersey number, football-style) instead of a logo in front - but he's wearing the captain's ''C'' with the Isles.

He signed both cards in black sharpie, adding his uniform number with the Isles (2).

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