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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VANCOUVER, British Columbia — Vancouver Canucks right wing Ilya Mikheyev is set to have season-ending surgery on his left knee.

Canucks general manager Patrik Allvin said Friday night the 28-year-old Russian forward tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee in the team’s first preseason game Sept. 25. Mikheyev will undergo surgery next week and is expected to be ready for training camp in the fall.

Mikheyev was originally listed as week-to-week with the injury and played 45 regular-season games, finishing with 13 goals and 15 assists. He scored in his final appearance Friday night, a 5-2 home victory over Columbus.

Mikheyev signed a four-year, $19 million contract as a free agent last summer.

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Toronto Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews will miss at least three weeks with a sprained knee.

The team announced the reigning MVP’s anticipated absence Friday, two days after Matthews was injured in Toronto’s victory against the New York Rangers.

Matthews is expected to miss at least six games and could be out for a few more. The timing of the injury coinciding with the NHL All-Star break and the Maple Leafs bye week prevents this from costing Matthews more time out of the lineup.

After being voted an All-Star by fans, Matthews is now out of the event scheduled for Feb. 3-4 in Sunrise, Florida. The league announced Aleskander Barkov from the host Florida Panthers will take Matthews’ place on the Atlantic Division All-Star roster.

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Caufield opted for surgery with Habs out of playoff race

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MONTREAL — Montreal Canadiens winger Cole Caufield said Friday he wouldn’t be having season-ending surgery on his right shoulder if the team were in playoff contention.

But with the Canadiens near the bottom of the Eastern Conference standings, the 22-year-old Caufield said he decided to have the surgery to protect his long-term health. The procedure is scheduled to be performed by Dr. Peter Millett on Wednesday.

“I didn’t want to stop playing,” Caufield said. “I had a couple tests done to look at it more clearly but, in the end, like it could’ve been one more fall and it could have been even worse.”

Caufield, who leads the Canadiens with 26 goals in 46 games, had three different medical opinions on his shoulder before concluding that his season was over.

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SEATTLE — Seattle Kraken rookie All-Star Matty Beniers will miss the team’s final two games before the All-Star break after taking a big hit from Vancouver’s Tyler Myers earlier this week.

Seattle coach Dave Hakstol said after morning skate Friday that Beniers would not play Friday night against Calgary or Saturday against Columbus. Hakstol did not speculate on Beniers’ availability for next weekend’s All-Star Game in Florida.

The team has not specified what kind of injury Beniers sustained from the hit. He was barreled over by Myers away from the play early in the second period in Wednesday’s 6-1 victory over Vancouver. Myers was penalized for interference on the play. Beniers returned briefly for one shift later in the period but did not play in the third period.

Beniers is Seattle’s lone All-Star selection this season. He leads all rookies in goals (17) and points (36), and is fifth in total ice time for rookies.

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