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EVERYTIME I walk away from the computer, something happens!

The Islanders have just signed 30-year old defenseman and former Montreal Canadien Mark Streit to a 5 year deal worth $20.5-million. Streit was ranked second among all defenseman last year in points and is that power play quarterback the Islanders have sorely needed the past several years. Streit was originally drafted by Montreal in the ninth round (262nd overall) in the 2004 NHL Entry Draft. If you read the quotes from Greg’s blog below, it seems that the Islanders may have gotten themselves a steal.

A bit of video first:



Per Greg Logan’s blog entry:

Streit’s 62 points tied for third in the NHL behind Detroit’s Niklas Lidstrom (70) and Pittsburgh’s Sergei Gonchar (65). His 13 goals tied for seventh, and his 49 assists ranked fourth. More importantly, Streit’s play was one of the major reasons Montreal’s power play ranked first in the league with a 24.1 percent success rate compared to the 29th-ranked Islanders power play (14.6 percent).

The Swiss native made just $600,000 in his third full NHL season, so, he’ll be making a big leap with a five-year contract for $20.5 million. But when you look at the deals the other top offensive defensemen have received today, Streit’s $4.1 million average salary ranks just a tick ahead of the $4 million average Colorado’s John-Michael Liles got to re-sign with the Avalanche. Yet, Streit had more than double the six goals scored by Liles or, for that matter, the six goals scored by new Ranger Wade Redden, whose six-year deal averages $6.5 million. Redden also brings the physical element, but Streit is a young 31 in terms of wear and tear and should be a good puck-mover on the third pairing for the Isles.

In an interesting bit of semi-off topic news, someone has already edited Streit’s Wikipedia entry. How funny is that?

Per the Islanders official release:

The New York Islanders have signed defenseman Mark Streit to a five-year contract. Last year with Montreal, Streit played in 81 games and scored 13 goals with 49 assists for 62 points. A specialist on the power play, Streit scored seven goals with 27 assists for 34 points on the man advantage.

“Mark was someone we targeted from the beginning and we’re thrilled he’s an Islander,” said Islanders General Manager Garth Snow. “Mark provides us with the stability on the blueline that we were looking for.”

Said Streit, who agreed to the contract at 2:00 AM in Switzerland on Tuesday: “It’s late in Europe right now, but I’m really happy to be an Islander. The whole day, the Islanders showed interest in me and this is an opportunity I couldn’t pass up.”

A native of Englisberg, Switzerland, Streit is a veteran of 205 NHL games and has scored 25 goals and 84 assists for 109 points. On the power play over the course of three NHL seasons, Streit has scored a total of 11 power goals with 45 assists for 56 points.

Last season, Streit finished tied for 11th in the NHL in power play scoring and finished tied for second among defensemen.

Streit also has eight years of experience in the Swiss league where he scored a total of 57 goals and 139 assists for 196 points in 363 games.

The 30-year old Streit was originally drafted by Montreal in the ninth round (262nd overall) in the 2004 NHL Entry Draft.

Ken Morrow statement on Islanders TV:

To add a little bit of an opinion to all of this, there will always be a comparison to the other UFA defenseman of this class – there just will be. Despite the fact that Streit is 30, he has only been in the league 3 years and was drafted at a late age (26). This wasn’t because he was a late bloomer or not skilled enough, it was because he decided his place at the time was in Switzerland. He has posted respectable numbers (57 goals and 139 assists for 196 points in 363 games) prior to his time in the NHL – so there really shouldn’t be an issue now that he is not in Montreal.

Do the Islanders lack the skilled forwards that the Canadiens have? Yes, but for how long is anyone’s guess. Streit has ample time to grow with the up and coming batch of future Islanders – he could very well surprise everyone and make those around him that much better. You watch.

Great job today Garth, please keep up the great work!