Isles Files: Later Streiter, DP vs. Luongo & More

Most NHL fans have been focusing their attention on the NHL playoffs. Both the Kings/Blackhawks and the Penguins/Bruins are in the midst of their Conference Finals match-ups, but rumors and news have continued to run wild surrounding the New York Islanders.

The biggest, and most latest story coming about the Islanders is that number one defenseman and team captain Mark Streit will not be returning next year (Photo Credit: Robert Kowal/Flickr).

Newsday journalist Arthur Staple reports that the 35-year old defenseman was seeking a new contract worth at least $5.5 million per season. Streit, who missed an entire season of his five-year contract with the Islanders due to injury, has declined in both offensive and defensive production since his arrival to the Island.

During his first year with the team in 2009, Streit posted 56 points (16 goals, 40 assists) with a +5 rating on an Islanders team that finished dead last in the league. The Isles were still a below average team the following year, but the offensively minded d-man scored another 49 points from the blue line with an even rating. He missed the season after that with a torn labrum in his shoulder and returned in 2011-2012, scoring a respectable 47 points.

However, the only  problem is that he was a -27, the worst plus/minus rating of his NHL career by a long shot. This season, Streit scored 27 points in 48 games and was tied for the team lead in points in the playoffs with John Tavares (5 points in 6 games played) but was also a -14 during the regular season.

Streit clearly has a lot left to offer as an offensive defenseman. But his numbers indicate that his defensive play has not been the same since his injury before the 2010-2011 season. His costly turnovers and inability to move the puck out of the defensive zone are responsible for his poor plus/minus rating and are not worth a contract that is close to $6 million per year.

According to Staple, GM Garth Snow offered Streit a more reasonable contract; a three-year deal worth only $5 million a season. Streit has a higher demand in salary and Snow is sticking to his original offer. The result: Mark Streit is walking.

It will be interesting to see what Snow has planned next. Thomas Hickey will likely be back next year, at the very least on his qualifying offer. But a defense of only Visnovsky, Travis Hamonic, Andrew MacDonald, Brain Strait, Thomas Hickey and Matt Carkner isn't exactly the best. Another veteran added to the mix would definitely make things stronger on the back end.

But then again, Matt Donovan, Calvin de Haan, Aaron Ness and Griffin Reinhart are waiting for their chance to prove themselves at the NHL level.

Staple also notes that Brad Boyes is likely to be leaving the team as well. This is not a huge surprise since Boyes did not come close to replacing P.A. Parenteau on the top line. The chemistry between Boyes and Tavares/Moulson was simply not there, and he was almost invisible during the playoffs.

But Staple did state that all signs indicate that Evgeni Nabokov will be back with the Islanders for at least one more season, and that it appears training camp will have Kevin Poulin and Anders Nilsson competing for the back-up job.

This might dismiss the Rick DiPietro for Roberto Luongo trade rumors that surfaced last week from Bob McKenzie's twitter account from TSN.

Many Isles fans were quick to say that they loved this deal: the Islanders receiving a proven number one goaltender with plenty of years left on his lengthy contract that could steal, earn and provide wins for the team that drafted him, over...well....Ricky (GoalPro/Flickr).

Personally, I do not see the sense in trading one bad contract for another. And like I stated above, Luongo has more years left at a higher price. He also has yet to be reliable in the playoffs. So instead of just buying out DiPietro and moving forward with better goaltenders (some of whom are younger), the Islanders should pick up another bad contract that could easily backfire the same way if not worse?

If the Islanders do not want to be viewed as a laughing stock anymore and want respect from the rest of the league, a deal like this will not be made. And in my opinion, it won't.

Either way, there will be holes to fill once free agency rolls around with the Isles letting go of a first line forward and a top pairing defenseman. One would have to expect that Snow does not plan on filling all of them with rookies and prospects.

This team just made the playoffs for the first time in six years and are preparing for a move to Brooklyn in the very near future.

Snow should be looking to take a big step forward on July 5th instead of remaining only complacent with the assets he currently has waiting in his pocket.

-Rob McGowan
F