Mark Streit

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Streit goes from ‘special’ return to Montreal to unconditional waivers

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There was another development in Mark Streit‘s future in the NHL on Sunday, as he was reportedly placed on unconditional waivers for the purpose of a mutual contract termination.

The 39-year-old defenseman was placed on waivers by the Montreal Canadiens earlier this week. He wasn’t claimed and wasn’t going to report to the American Hockey League.

From a “special” return to Montreal this summer to unconditional waivers in only a few months.

There are still options available to him, and, according to recent reports, that would include possibly playing for Switzerland in the 2018 Olympics, in a year when the NHL will not send players to compete for their countries.

Streit has enjoyed an impressive NHL career when you think about how it started.

Already with previous experience playing professional in Switzerland, he was selected by the Habs … in the ninth round of the 2004 draft. He’s actually one of five players taken in that round to play more than 200 games in the big league, though with 434 points, he’s certainly the most productive, recording 62 points during the 2007-08 season.

The NHL Draft no longer goes nine rounds. It hasn’t since 2005, when it was reduced to seven rounds.

If this is the end to his NHL career — and that would appear likely — he’ll move on having been a part of the Stanley Cup-winning Pittsburgh Penguins last June.

This move comes only a few months after the Habs decided to ink Streit to a one-year, $1 million deal — with a cap hit of $700,000 — in a bid to replace Andrei Markov on the blue line.

Per CapFriendly, they’ll save more than $650,000 against the salary cap for this season. They now have about $8.3 million in cap space.

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Cam Tucker is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @CamTucker_Sport.

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AP Source: Streit not reporting to AHL, will weigh options

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A person with direct knowledge of the situation says defenseman Mark Streit will not report to the minors after clearing waivers and will spend the next few days weighing his options.

The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because talks between Streit and the Montreal Canadiens have been private.

The Canadiens assigned the 39-year-old to the American Hockey League’s Laval Rocket earlier Friday after none of the other 30 NHL teams put in a claim for the Swiss defender. Streit played just two games since rejoining Montreal, averaging 14 minutes of ice time and registering a minus-2 rating.

Streit, who won the Stanley Cup with the Pittsburgh Penguins playing in three playoff games, has 96 goals and 338 assists for 434 points in 786 regular-season games with the Canadiens, New York Islanders, Philadelphia Flyers and Penguins.

This could be it for Mark Streit in NHL; Should someone claim him?

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Mark Streit will turn 40 in December. He’s played in 786 regular-season games and 34 playoff contests, collecting a Stanley Cup while being used sparingly with the Pittsburgh Penguins last season.

Not bad for a Swiss-born defenseman who went in the ninth round (262nd overall) in 2004. Streit’s career might be winding down in a way that isn’t quite glamorous, but he’s made money, an All-Star team, and represented his country at high levels.

Those last two points come together in the latest update. After reportedly unsuccessfully shopping Streit on the trade market, the Montreal Canadiens placed Streit on waivers today.

End of the line?

Multiple reports indicate that, if Streit doesn’t get claimed, he won’t report to the Canadiens’ AHL team. Instead, he’ll set his sights on representing Switzerland at the 2018 Winter Olympics.

Honestly, if I were in Streit’s shoes, I might prefer such a route rather than the likely role he’d find himself if he was scooped up by another NHL team: as a sixth or seventh defenseman.

Not what he once was, but still some skill

That said, blueliners with some skill are at a premium in the modern NHL, even ones who’ve lost several steps such as Streit. Is he worth a look? Let’s glance at what he’s been able to do lately, keeping in mind that teams shouldn’t expect the kind of player who once produced 62 and 56-point seasons.

Speaking of offense, that’s arguably his sole calling card, whether it means using Streit as a power play specialist or merely a bottom pairing blueliner who will be asked to transition the puck.

There could be moderate value there, based on the handy fancy stats HERO chart from 2016-17, via Dom Galamini.

via Dom Galamini

The Penguins traded for him with depth in mind, but even with a beat-up crew (it wasn’t just Kris Letang who was hurting), they only played him three times during their 2017 Stanley Cup run.

Now, judging a player by how he struggles to make a mark with the defending champs isn’t always fair.

It’s also clear that Streit didn’t really earn Claude Julien’s trust in Montreal. It’s not just that he was limited to about 14 minutes per night in two games; Streit began a comical 76.5 percent of his shifts in the offensive zone. Streit’s already been protected as his career winds down (he tends to start about 60 percent of his shifts in the attacking zone lately), but that’s extreme.

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So … there are some warts here.

On the other hand, he’s cheap ($700K), would only cost a roster spot, and brings experience teams like. And probably at least a slight boost in skill compared to some especially limited third-pairing guys.

Granted, when coaches love “experience,” that often translates to “plodding and physical” rather than what Streit brings to the table. And, considering that a higher-potential guy like Cody Franson needed to slog through a PTO, it could be tough sledding for Streit.

Overall, it really might be best for Streit to call it quits in the NHL. NHL teams should at least give some thought to snaring him up, though.

James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.

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Catch up on Bruins, Sabres, Red Wings, more (PHT’s Atlantic Division preview)

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Between August’s “Team of the Day” series and all the other articles that gets published, Pro Hockey Talk generates a ton of material to get you hyped for the 2017-18 season.

With that in mind, it’s understandable if you missed some great stuff. While these collections aren’t comprehensive, consider these divisional previews to be a good way to get hyped for the rapidly approaching season.

For the PHT’s staff picks, click here.

Boston Bruins

Poll/looking to make the leap/

In more immediate Bruins news, Bergeron and Backes seem a little banged-up.

Buffalo Sabres

Poll/looking to make the leap

Detroit Red Wings

Poll/looking to make the leap/

Florida Panthers

Poll/looking to make the leap

Montreal Canadiens

Poll/looking to make the leap

In more immediate news, the Habs made a minor trade.

… And another one:

Ottawa Senators

Poll/looking to make the leap

Tampa Bay Lightning

Poll/looking to make the leap

Toronto Maple Leafs

Poll/looking to make the leap

Canadiens invite Eric Gelinas to camp on PTO

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The Montreal Canadiens have added some depth ahead of next month’s training camp, as they’ve given Eric Gelinas a professional tryout.

Gelinas, 26, split last season between the AHL and NHL. He had three goals and nine assists in 27 games with the San Antonio Rampage, and one assist in 27 contests with the Colorado Avalanche.

Like most players on a PTO, he’ll face an uphill battle to make the final roster. The good news, is that the left side of Montreal’s defense has gone through some pretty significant changes this off-season.

Both Andrei Markov and Nathan Beaulieu are gone. They’ve been replaced by Karl Alzner and David Schlemko. The Candiens also brought in KHL blue liner Jakub Jerabek and they signed Joe Morrow and Mark Streit in free agency. Brandon Davidson, who the Habs acquired at the trade deadline, is also back.

Prior to joining the Canadiens, Gelinas admitted that his poor season is the reason why more teams weren’t interested in his services.

“It’s a little disappointing in a sense, but I have no one to blame but myself…I didn’t have a good season,” Gelinas told NHL.com earlier this month (quotes have been translated).

“I had less opportunities (in Colorado), but it was up to me to make the most of the opportunities they gave me, and it didn’t work out. In December, my agent and I decided that I should go to the minors to play more and have more responsibility.”

With Alzner, Davidson and Schlemko locks to make the final roster (unless there’s a trade), that potentially leaves one spot available if they decide to keep eight defensemen. It’ll be interesting to see which player emerges from camp with that position.

Things are a little different on the opposite side of the blue line. The Canadiens are pretty much set on the right side, as they’ll roll with Shea Weber, Jeff Petry, Jordie Benn (a lefty who played the right side last season) and Streit (another lefty that usually plays on the right side).