(Photo credit: Amy Irvin, 38 Photography)
Mark Streit’s Role on returning, what is it? Does he instantly come back to his role as a top pair defender with the top powerplay quarterback role? Is he relegated to somewhere lower in the lineup because of the emergence of Shayne Gostisbehere?
Right now, the Flyers are in an interesting position and in some ways, a good problem to have.
They only sit four points out of a playoff spot, but four teams stand in their way. Going for it is possible, but difficult. Especially since three point games make it nearly impossible for a team to claw back.
That said, Mark Streit is easily better than Brandon Manning and Nick Schultz on the back end, and waiving Nick Schultz solves the cap issue when Streit is activated from Long Term Injured Reserve. With Luke Schenn still recovering from injury, currently the Flyers could roll:
And this would likely be better than what they’re getting right now.
Of course, activating Mark Streit comes with another issue besides money; the 23 man roster limit. Waiving Schultz would solve the roster problem, but would leave the Flyers with only six defenders on the active roster. Even if Luke Schenn was moved to LTIR (rendering him unable to return before December 30 but allowing for about 3M in callups), any callup for an extra defender would require that waiver exempt Scott Laughton be sent to the AHL or the player be placed on regular injured reserve to keep the Flyers roster and cap compliant.
Sadly, Vincent Lecavalier’s No Move Clause protects him from waivers as well as being traded, so while other circumstances would make him an obvious candidate to move, Vinny would have to okay the deal, and wishing he willingly goes to the AHL is not something to hang your hat on.
Now, when Luke Schenn comes back, the cap problem and roster problem come back. One obvious solution is to waive Nick Schultz right there. This would solve the cap issue temporarily and roster issue as well, leaving the following defense pairs:
Manning’s play with Ghost has been effective, and warrants keeping him around. However, objectively, Streit is the better player. Also, by moving Streit to his left side, the idea would be to have him have less ice to cover with the speedy Ghost Bear. However, given the Flyers weird obsession with Nick Schultz, that may be founded in evidence, it’s highly unlikely that the Flyers waive, or even bench, Nick Schultz.
This makes the following pairs likely:
But again, breaking up Manning-Ghost is something the Flyers should be reluctant to do, unless they acquire via trade a left side defender who can pair well with Ghost Bear. Offensively, the Flyers should be reluctant to flip Ghost to the left side as that would neutralize his deadly one timer and effectively destroy his best offensive weapon.
So, with too many defenders, maybe it’s time to flip a forward for a defender. The best part is, the Flyers can literally do that without waivers or a trade. Enter, forward Mark Streit.
Right off the bat, Mark Streit has not played forward since 2007-08 with Montreal. It’s been a long time. In fact, playing defense was a big reason he signed with the Islanders as a free agent instead of staying in Montreal. Also, at age 38, Streit’s may not even be ready to re-learn a position he hasn’t played in years.
The Flyers desperately need a bottom six scoring threat. Streit has puck skills, as someone who has averaged 48 points per 82 games in his career, getting his scoring back in the lineup is needed. The Streit as a forward isn’t an 11F/7D experiment, it’s about having Streit take regular shifts on one of the wings.
With Scott Laughton’s ice time dwindling, and role diminishing, it’s plausible that he is sent down to the AHL. Sending him down before he plays game 40 would also stop Laughton from accruing a service year towards unrestricted free agency on top of the cap benefits of sending him down. Plus, with the MacDonald contract on the books til 2020, getting Laughton’s first RFA deal reduced is also useful.
Sending down Scott Laughton would solve the cap issue and would allow the Flyers to roll:
This would leave the Flyers with 608,000 in cap space. Enough for recalls of Davis Drewiske as a spare defender, Aaron Palushaj as a forward or Jason LaBarbera in net. The best part is, with 2 spare forwards and a hybrid in Mark Streit, the only likely position to need a recall (without LTIR) would be goaltender.
This experiment would come with a ton of risk. As a defender, Streit would likely be stronger than the average wing defensively, but would need adjustment time to learn the change in coverage. On the other hand, if Streit’s offensive presence, which is likely an upgrade in offensive talent over White-Lecavalier and my listed fourth line of Bellemare-Umberger-VandeVelde.
Given Dave Hakstol has tried Voracek at left wing, it’s possible, though highly unlikely that he tries Streit as right wing.