We haven’t even officially reached the offseason yet, and next season looks like it could already be a bit tougher for the New York Islanders. It appears that their no. 1 defenseman, and their captain, Mark Streit will not be returning to the club that he has called him for the last four seasons.
Streit and the Islanders were unable to reach an agreement on a new contract. Despite his many statements that he would like to return to Long Island, Streit turned down the best possible offer from the Isles. That deal was expected to be something around three years and in the ballpark of $5 million a year. Which is probably similar, if not better than, what he can expect on the open market.
So Streit is going to hit the market as an unrestricted free agent. In a thin free agent market, he’s going to get a nice new contract. It wasn’t the term that was the sticking point, but the money. Streit reportedly wanted more than a half a million more than what New York had offered. What is known is that he has played his last game with the Islanders organization.
Which is a big blow to the Isles, who surprisingly made it into the postseason as the no. 8 seed out of the Eastern Conference this season. Streit was a big part of that. He contributed 27 points from the blue line, including six goals. He blocked 86 shots and takes a player capable of playing in all situations out of the mix. On top of the fact that he’s a veteran leader.
The Islanders have several defensive prospects coming up through the ranks. So there isn’t a tremendous concern there. The question is how they’ll replace Streit in the immediate future. You can expect Griffin Reinhart to make the jump up next year. Lubomir Visnovsky will have to shoulder a bit more. The Islanders will likely look to add at least one defenseman in free agency or a trade.
But overall, this is a somewhat significant blow to the Islanders. Streit’s a player that impacted the game in multiple ways for New York, on top of being the leader of a young franchise. It will be interesting to see how they plan on replacing him as the offseason rolls along.