Image courtesy of Amy Irvin – 38Photography
As the Flyers get closer to the trade deadline, they need to continue to assess the value of their tradeable assets in hopes of rebuilding and retooling into a contender in the future. Today, we look at what veteran defenseman Mark Streit would bring back in a trade.
Even at age 37, Mark Streit may actually be the Flyers best trade asset right now. He’s a point producing defenseman who plays decently tough minutes and has good possession results.
When compared to some other defenseman who have been moved recently in trades, Streit compares best to Andrej Meszaros in terms of usage while getting better results.
In terms of results, Kevin Shattenkirk is the closest scoring comparable on this list. The extra scoring Shattenkirk has this season (37 points to Streit’s 31) is a likely by product of the extra offensive zone starts compounded by the weaker quality of opposition. The issue here is he was swapped for Erik Johnson who’s also on the list.
Dion Phaneuf’s lack of possession results make him a poor comparison however, as was the case with Braydon Coburn, he’ll show up because he was been traded recently.
Andrej Meszaros was a rental, Streit actually is signed for 5.25 against the cap until 2017, however due to bonuses his actual salary dips to 4M for the last season.
Johnny Boychuk, Brendon Dillon and Andrew MacDonald show up on the list for moving recently, but do not have the scoring ability that Streit has. Demers being traded for Dillon washes out the deal.
Jack Johnson is a Scott Howson trade, however that might actually be a good thing in this case.
So, what is the value of a puck moving defensemen.
Meszaros, Boychuk and MacDonald all moved for picks as rentals. Streit isn’t quite a rental.
Dillon, Demers, Shattenkirk and Johnson were traded for each other in a pair of deals, so any comparable defender who is rumored to be on the move might be an option.
Phaneuf was dealt as part of a massive deal that the Flyers could try to replicate, but might be against their better judgement given their cap situation.
Jack Johnson was dealt with a pick for disgruntled Jeff Carter.
This actually leads to an old friend: Chris Pronger. Pronger was roughly in the same situation as Streit, an older, puck moving defender who was dealt for 2 first round picks (09, 10) and roster player Joffrey Lupul and prospect Luca Sbisa.
While Mark Streit isn’t worth 4 assets, any combination of two or 3 of those assets is actually a fair trade.
So, where can Mark Streit end up?
The Colorado Avalanche
The Avalanche have a situation similar to Jeff Carter in Ryan O’Reilly. O’Reilly and Colorado management cannot seem to get on the same page with regards to a contract. In 2013, O’Reilly signed an offersheet with Calgary after being frustrated by the Avalanche lowballing him.
O’Reilly actually plays tougher minutes and gets better possession results than Carter does, he’s also younger and a solid 2-way player. He plays center and left wing and could either be the perfect 1LW with Giroux or 3LW with Couturier and Read. Placing O’Reilly with Couturier and Read would do wonders for Couturier’s offensive game which is dragged down by possession black hole RJ Umberger.
In terms of competition, Ryan O’Reilly is used similar to Couturier and Read while getting slightly more favorable zone usage. Putting O’Reilly with them would allow all three to showcase two way ability and provide a scoring presence that would take pressure off Claude Giroux and Jake Voracek to provide all the scoring.
Also, it would allow the Flyers to run a sheltered line of Brayden Schenn-Scott Laughton-Wayne Simmonds which would allow the rookie Laughton to grow in a sheltered position, Michael Raffl would play with Giroux and Voracek who can make any decent player look good, and Raffl being more than decent means that line would continue to be dangerous. Instead of breaking up VandeVelde-Lecavalier-Bellemare, just ship RJ Umberger to the pressbox as a temporary measure. (Spoiler alert: a future chapter in this series involves a how to guide on moving Lecavalier) These lines actually would actually maximize each players talents if deployed correctly.
So, why would Colorado do this deal?
The Avalanche Defense is very top heavy with only Johnson-Hejda and Barrie drawing positive possession results. The others are all possession black holes. Streit would stabilize the blueline almost right away and since the Avalanche are getting older, with Danny Briere, Alex Tanguay and Jarome Iginla already all under contract, they might be panicked into a win-now move. Streit’s contract isn’t horribly long either, he’ll be off the books soon enough.
So, the pipe dream deal here is Mark Streit straight up for Ryan O’Reilly.
The Ottawa Senators.
Ottawa’s ownership is in dire financial straits. Ottawa has shed a lot of money over the past few seasons and currently hovers around the salary floor. Streit’s deal, containing pre-paid bonuses and therefore less salary than cap hit might actually be enticing to Ottawa to circumvent the cap floor.
If Ottawa wants to take a run at the playoffs this season, they may have an incentive to deal their 2015 first round pick and 2016 first round pick to the Flyers for Mark Streit. If Ottawa wants to keep the lottery ticket, they could offer both their 2015 second round picks, as they acquired Dallas’s pick in the Jason Spezza trade and a 2016 first round pick for Streit.
If the Flyers wanted to play hardball, they could offer to take a back loaded Ottawa deal, such as Patrick Wiercioch, off the Senators hands and demand they get the 2015 first round for doing so. To help persuade the Ottawa to go for this deal, the pick could be conditional on a playoff appearance (say, first round pick if the Sens make the playoffs and advance to round 2, otherwise second round pick). Wiercioch isn’t a bad player and one year of him on a second or third pair roll isn’t bad.
This deal is mostly predicated on Ottawa’s economics than actual hockey talent. Essentially both teams make great trade partners from an economic standard more than a hockey one. Since the NHL is a business, why not try to make it work?
The Boston Bruins
The Bruins are in absolute salary cap hell. They need to move money out and have a couple of expiring contracts they could move to do so. The deal is predicated on the Flyers being willing to take on Milan Lucic’s 6M deal for one year and send Streit the other way. The Bruins would then thank the Flyers for this cap space by adding in a 2015 first round pick, Nick Svedberg (who would slot in as the Flyers backup goalie and has starter potential if Mason’s injury issues continue) and a 2016 first round pick.
The Bruins wouldn’t worry about losing Svedberg, they have Malcolm Subban waiting in the wings to fill in. In order to cover the cap space differential, the Flyers would need to make two roster moves, placing both Ray Emery and RJ Umberger on waivers. In a perfect world, both players would be claimed and the Flyers would be rid of the cap hits altogether, in reality, the Flyers will gain about 1.8M in cap room covering the differential. There is probably a 1% chance a team would claim Umberger, Emery might get claimed as a temporary goaltending option by Nashville if Rinne is out long term or by Arizona if they want someone to fill in for recently traded backup Devan Dubnyk.
The tough part about this deal is the Flyers are banking on multiple lottery tickets. They’re not getting a truly proven asset in return. But again, both teams have cap issues, the Bruins would get a defender who could force Torey Krug to take less money on his RFA deal and thus save cap space for another year.
The Flyers would be taking on more money, but having shorter term which would hopefully speed up a rebuild.
Mark Streit would fit on just about any team. Puck moving defensemen are always in demand. Streit has no NTC or NMC on his deal so the Flyers should open up a bidding war. Scott Howson is the VP of Hockey Operations in Edmonton, give him a call and see if he’s in the mood to toss Jordan Eberle and PIT’s 2015 first round pick for Streit. Call Calgary or Winnipeg and start a bidding war. If Hextall works the phones properly, he could walk out with a middle 6 forward, a near NHL ready D prospect and a 1st round pick in this stacked 2015 draft.
There’s also no reason that Mark Streit should be a Flyer at the end of his deal, barring a major injury and LTIR situation, between Gostisbehere and Sanheim and even Michael Del Zotto, the Flyers have puck moving defenders that are under the age of 30 and under team control financially. Move him now while his value is high, especially with how deep the 2015 draft class is projected to be.