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.
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.
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.
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