While the Philadelphia Flyers’ overhauled goaltending remains their biggest X-factor, it was far from the only significant change they made this summer.
After failing to get Ryan Suter or Shea Weber in the summer of 2012, the Flyers left nothing to chance by acquiring the rights to offensive defenseman Mark Streit from the New York Islanders so that they could sign the soon-to-be unrestricted defenseman to a four-year, $21 million contract.
At the age of 35, Streit is not a long-term solution for Philadelphia like Suter or Weber would have been. However, he does give them some of the things they lost when Chris Pronger suffered a concussion. He’s capable of leading a squad after serving as the New York Islanders’ team captain and he’ll pitch in with the man advantage.
“[Streit is] the type of defenseman we need,” Paul Holmgren said, according to NHL.com, “a guy who can play on the power play, a guy who can provide offense [at] 5-on-5, a defenseman who gets up in the rush and joins the rush, and at times can lead the rush and make plays come out of our end.”
They also signed another captain, this time from the Tampa Bay Lightning, in Vincent Lecavalier. His previous contract was bought out and with it the expectations that came from the monster 11-year, $85 million deal.
His injury history is an area of concern, but Lecavalier gives the Flyers more depth up the middle and figures to be a significant factor offensively. While his 108-point campaign is far behind him, the 33-year-old did score at least 20 goals in 12 straight seasons before the shortened campaign.
Along with goaltender Ray Emery, the additions of Streit and Lecavalier have given the Flyers plenty to be hopeful about.
“I go into every season optimistic and excited,” Flyers owner Ed Snider said. “But this is very unique, to have three outstanding players on the podium at the same time that we recently signed. You don’t add three terrific players like that without getting better.
“We’re better, no question about it.”