Wednesday, July 10, 2013

FLYERS: Streit after Islanders' playoff appearance: "It was time to move on"

July 9, 2013

By Nick Tricome

Mark Streit had spent the past five of his eight (technically four of seven) NHL seasons playing for the New York Islanders.

But even though the Islanders made the playoffs for the first time in six years, with him as their captain, the 35-year old Swiss defenseman felt it was time to move on.

"It was a pretty good season with the Islanders," Streit said. "But after the season was done, I just had that feeling that it was time to move on for me."

After the Islanders first round exit in the playoffs, Streit made a mental list of teams he would have liked to play for, like any other player hitting the market would have.

Streit was at the end of a five-year contract with New York and was set to become a free agent. Then his negotiating rights were traded to the Flyers, a team that was on the top of his list.

"I had a few teams on my mind and the Flyers were on the top of that list," Streit said during Tuesday's introductory press conference at the Wells Fargo Center. "I always loved playing here against them. I thought they had a great team, a great mix between younger and older players, a lot of skill, a lot of creativity and it was tough to play against those guys."

"[Philadelphia] is a great hockey town, with great tradition," Streit continued. "As soon as I got traded, I was really hoping to get something done here. I'm so excited and thankful that they gave me the opportunity. I'm really thrilled and I think this team has really big potential. "

Streit signed a four-year, $21 million deal shortly after being acquired by Philadelphia. Given his age and the annual $5.25 million cap hit his contract carries over the next few years, more than a few fans are concerned that he won't last very long into his tenure with the Flyers.

But Streit has played in fewer than seasons than most other players in his age range, especially defenseman. It's a little tidbit that he believes make a huge difference in terms of durability.

"I think it is a big difference when you're 35 and you've played 15 years in the league or you've played eight," Streit said. "The wear and tear is big in hockey, in the NHL, but I feel great. I'm healthy."

It took Streit until he was 26 to make it to the NHL, which is the reason why he doesn't have as many years under his belt compared to a player who got drafted at 18 and played until they were 40.

He was picked up by the Montreal Canadiens in the ninth round of the 2004 NHL Draft, where he would spend this first three years before landing with the Islanders.

Streit has been able to stay relatively healthy during his NHL career, playing in a majority, if not all, of his team's games.

The only exception was the 2010-11 season, when he was out for the entire year with a severe shoulder injury.

"I had one unfortunate season with the Islanders when I was hurt the whole year," Streit said. "But other than that, I played almost all the games every year. So, I'm in good shape. I want to play for a long time and I really think I can help this team."

Playing in all 48 of the Islanders' games last season, Streit averaged 23:21 of ice time and scored six goals and 21 assists. He is a defenseman that can move the puck and play offensively when needed, which is an element last year's Flyers needed more of.

(Image from the DELCO Times)

No comments:

Post a Comment