Throughout the next month plus, we’ll be reviewing the season that was and over-analyzing the various players that contributed to it. That’s what the offseason is for, after all. This post is part of a series. Read them all here.
6-21-27 in 48 games
Most often seen: On the power play, being the odd man out of the top four at even strength
Contract status: UFA this summer, $4.1M salary in 2012-13 ($4.1M cap hit)
Obligatory YouTube video of: Scoring from the point to tie up Game Four
Thoughts on 2012-13: With the news that Mark Streit will not be re-signing on Long Island, it seems appropriate to get his report and/or farewell card out of the way today.
The Islanders will be parting with the franchise’s 13th team captain after a five-year run. Streit was unique in that he signed a big free agent contract on Long Island — $20.5M over five years — in 2008. That’s the kind of player that has been few and far between for the team; a big time free agent for significant money in their prime at the time of the signing.
Streit had two excellent years for the Islanders in 2008-09 and 2009-10. He amassed 105 points in 156 games and had a miraculous +6 rating during a time when the team as a whole was a combined -120 and finished 15th and 13th in the conference. He was a always a quiet captain and led by example.
In 2010-11, Streit missed the entire season thanks to a shoulder injury that occurred in a pre-season intrasquad scrimmage, of all games. Streit was never quite the same defensively after the injury and clearly regressed from his All-Star form in the two seasons that followed, 2011-12 and 2012-13.
The year following the injury he was still an offensive threat, amassing 47 points while playing all 82 games that season. But defensively, it was clear that things weren’t quite the same. Whether it was the injury, age, or the pressure of the ‘C’, or maybe a combination of factors, Streit wasn’t quite the same. It showed on the statsheet, as he was -27, and the team finished 14th in the standings yet again. Streit was the focal point of the team’s defense and, even though the team as a whole was bad yet again, it was clear that he had lost a step. There’s also got to be some consideration paid to the fact that he skated all year with Steve Staios, who retired after inexplicably spending most of the year in the team’s top four defenders.
This past season the Islanders improved their defensive depth with the acquisitions of Lubomir Visnovsky and Matt Carkner, coupled with the emergence of Brian Strait and Thomas Hickey. With Hickey and Visnovsky becoming a solid pairing later in the season, Streit was relegated to the third defensive pair and saw his even strength minutes cut, especially in the playoffs (18:57 per game in 2011-12 to 18:15 in 2012-13 and dropping further to 15:59 in the playoffs, showing how much the Islanders relied on others down the stretch).
Offensively, Streit was still a threat, as he was on pace to match his total of 47 points from 2011-12 during the lockout shortened season. He even scored more points at even strength as opposed to the power play, possibly from the extra help he had around him and Lubomir Visnovsky becoming a second threat from the point on the man advantage.
But on defense, things were bad. Streit’s corsi relative dropped to -1.4 from 10.5 last season, despite playing with better defenders and against slightly worse competition. You didn’t really even need fancy statistics to see it either, it was evident from watching the games.
Streit gets a B- for a sub-par year defensively, although his offensive production was right in line with previous seasons. If I was grading his whole Islander career, it might be a higher mark. Streit was never a very vocal captain but there never seemed to be too much trouble in the locker room. Under his tenure guys with off-ice questions like Evgeni Nabokov and Lubomir Visnovsky acclimated nicely. Although, on the other hand, the team never seemed to find energy or consistency many nights until very recently. Streit is almost the Kenny Jonsson of this generation of Islanders; a solid contributor, captain and quiet team leader who contributed to a perennially bad team.
Add your thoughts and post-season grades in the comments.