Astoria, NY – Offseason roster moves began in earnest for the New York Islanders yesterday, as Newsday’s Arthur Staple reported that veteran defenseman – and team captain – Mark Streit rejected the team’s final contract offer.
While reaction to the news in the Twitterverse was mixed, the general consensus is that the team made a smart business decision, choosing not to overpay for a player whose skills had noticeably declined over the past few years.
With that in mind, Islanders general manager Garth Snow has plenty of young defensemen in the prospect pipeline and the salary cap flexibility to sign a free agent should that opportunity present itself.
Snow understands that other NHL teams will be cutting payroll to get under the decreased salary cap next season, meaning he may have the chance to pounce on a so-called “cap casualty” player to fill the roster slot vacated by Streit.
Streit had reportedly asked the Isles for a three-year deal worth approximately $5.5 million per year, roughly half a million dollars more per season than the team was willing to pay him over the same period.
According to sources – and in this case, “sources” means “my imagination” – Streit left a handwritten note for his former teammates in the home locker room at the Coliseum:
If you’re reading this, you already know. My stall has been emptied out: the skates, the sticks…everything. I’ll be at the Long Island Marriott, room 112. I love you. -Mark
(Though highly unlikely, it somewhat lessens the pain of losing the captain to free agency.)
Isles fans will always appreciate Streit’s willingness to sign with the team prior to the 2008 season, before the nucleus of this team had been established. In a way, he saw the potential of the franchise when few other people did.
It’s unfortunate that team and player couldn’t come to an agreement to keep the captain in blue and orange next year, but the organization is looking to the future. Snow has a specific salary structure that must be kept intact; unfortunately, Streit didn’t fit that construct.
I know I’ll be cheering when Streit returns to the Coliseum as a member of the visiting team. After all, he’s earned an ovation from the Isles faithful.
Mark Streit to Leave Islanders (EyesOnIsles)
Au Revoir, Captain Streit (Isles Optimism)
Isles Will “Try to Make It Worthwhile” to Take DiPietro (Pro Hockey Talk)
Islanders Draft Party Passes Available Wednesday (New York Islanders)
Floating Around The Twitter-Sphere
Bet anything that fans who hate the icing change will bark about needing it when their favorite player gets crippled on a dumb race.
— Joe Yerdon (@JoeYerdonPHT) June 4, 2013
In other pseudo-hockey news yesterday, the NHL announces that mandatory visor use will be implemented next season – players who currently don’t wear them will be grandfathered in – and that hybrid icing will be tested during the preseason. (Hybrid icing means once a player from the opposing team reaches the faceoff dot in his zone, the icing call is made based on whether the linesman believes he would win a race to the puck from there.) As Joe stated, people hesitant to accept this rule change – if it’s implemented for regular-season play – should just accept it as a necessary safety measure. It’s not the end of the world.
— Shane Hudella (@HudellaDTBL) May 31, 2013
(As a side note: thank you for your service, Shane. The entire staff here at EYES salutes you.)
— True Blue Joe (@JFigs25) June 4, 2013
OK, I couldn’t resist – a shot at the Pittsburgh Penguins during their 6-1 Game 2 loss to the Boston Bruins was clearly going to make it into Top Shelf. I don’t have to explain myself, either.
Last Night In The NHL
Chicago Blackhawks vs. Los Angeles Kings (CHI 2-1)
Williams scored on a nice cross-ice feed from Voynov at 3:21 of the first period, energizing his teammates and the home crowd in the process. Williams’s hard work from the opening faceoff was a microcosm of the high-intensity game the Kings played all night.
Voynov’s goal in the second period came on a shot where he broke his stick, but counted nonetheless. It was his fifth goal of the playoffs, which set the Los Angeles franchise record for goals by a defensemen in a single postseason. He also has six assists (11 points) in 16 games.
Chicago’s Bryan Bickell scored on a nifty wraparound in the final minute of the second period, taking advantage of a Kings defensive breakdown in their own zone. The Blackhawks couldn’t capitalize on the late-period momentum, however, as Los Angeles weathered the storm throughout the third period until King’s empty-net goal at 19:32.
Kings goalie Jonathan Quick was spectacular again in net – a running theme during this postseason – stopping 19-of-20 shots in the victory. Game 3 will take place at Staples Center on Thursday at 9:00 p.m. ET.
As always, thanks for reading us at EyesOnIsles. Keep it right here for all of your NHL playoff coverage and Isles offseason news. Be sure to check the menu bar at the top of the page for ways to connect with the EyesOnIsles staff; we’re always happy to talk hockey.