Will the Edmonton Oilers make a pitch for Mark Streit?

Photo: Dan4th/Wikimedia

Last summer, in an attempt to upgrade their blue line, the Oilers reportedly took a long look at New York Islanders defenceman Mark Streit. The veteran puck-mover would have slotted into the team’s top-four, has a long history with head coach Ralph Krueger, and stood a decent shot of becoming the Oilers’ top defenceman overnight.

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The Islanders, at the time, decided to keep him. Now it seems far more likely that they’ll let him go – is Edmonton still interested?

The Situation

TSN’s Darren Dreger laid out the main points on his Twitter feed Tuesday morning.

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The Islanders are in a bad spot here; tied with the Rangers for the final playoff position in the East (with the Rangers having a game in hand). It’s going to be very difficult for the team to trade away their captain, a guy playing more than 24:00 per game and who leads the blue line with 18 points. At the same time, the Islanders have so much trouble acquiring NHL talent that it’s also going to be quite difficult to just let Streit walk away for nothing.

The Player

After years of very strong play, Mark Streit’s performance has fallen off this season. His minus-15 rating overstates the situation – the Islanders’ goaltending situation has been wretched this year, and with Streit on the ice the team has a miserable 0.877 save percentage (something that isn’t likely his fault). With that said, Streit typically gas driven the play for Long Island the last few years – the team typically out-shot the opposition with Streit on the ice and got lit up with him on the bench. This year, Streit’s been slightly better than the team average but has not excelled. He is playing strong opposition and holding his own, but typically he has been better than that.

What Streit still does is produce offence at a prodigious rate. Among active defenceman with at least 250 games played since 2005-06, he ranks 10th in the NHL in points per game – numbers comparable to players like Brian Campbell, Zdeno Chara, Kimmo Timonen, Tobias Enstrom and Shea Weber. He scores at even-strength and he scores on the power play; he adds exactly the kind of puck-moving ability the Oilers were hoping Ryan Whitney would be able to provide them with this season.

Streit is a pending unrestricted free agent, but more than that his next contract is going to be a 35+ deal – meaning that if he’s extended, the cap hit on his new deal will be locked in no matter what happens.

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A Trade?

One of the things the Oilers could do – if they were interested in acquiring Streit – is blend in current assets and futures. The Islanders don’t want to fall out of the playoff race, and the Oilers could offer them a player like Ryan Whitney in the here-and-now as well as some kind of draft pick/prospect package to off-set them for the gap in skill between Streit and Whitney. Another piece that might interest the Islanders, assuming they can’t land a superior player, is Nikolai Khabibulin – the Islanders are 0-5 with either of their backup goalies playing and have a 0.860 save percentage in those situations. Even starter Evgeni Nabokov is struggling, with a 0.905 save percentage. The point is that in a trade with Edmonton, the Islanders would still be able to do the traditional ‘rental player for futures’ trade, but potentially plug the hole just created in their lineup at the same time.

That’s all speculation of course, and perhaps the Oilers will look at Streit’s age and decide he isn’t in the future plans and that there’s no sense spending assets on a rental player. He is a good fit for their top-four both right now and over the next few years, however, and they have expressed an interest in the past. It’s a situation to keep an eye on.

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  • Eddie Shore

    I appreciate that age may be a factor here, and that his age might not ‘fit going forward’; however, with all the needs for Edmonton, I’m surprised no one is really talking about some veteran guidance and leadership. Especially next year when our blue line looks even younger. Having two veteran defensive stalwarts in Schultz and Streit to help mentor the younger Schultz and possibly Klefbomb, would be huge for the team.

    While we’re at it. Why not try and pick up Jagr next year on a one year to help mentor Yak. From all that I’ve heard about Jagr is that he’s exceptional at helping the younger players.

  • Eddie Shore

    He is 35 , and starting to slide and is small, yeah just what we need.
    Not worth what ever we have to give up. If we were a shoe in and a contender, maybe.

  • OilClog

    Streit ++ for Whitney… ummmmm no.

    Streit is on the tail end of his career at 35+, he will break down a lot over the next few seasons. Regardless of the fact that it’s clear Streit isn’t signing an extension on the island.. which has tied the islanders hands in what to get for him in the open market.. there won’t be any over payments for him.

    Whitney plus a later round draft pick.. anything more then that is ridiculous and not a road that needs venture.

  • Bicepus Maximus - Huge fan boy!

    Depends on what the old man wants for his 35+ contract…

    Probably not worth it for the Oil for the same reason the Islanders can’t sign him.

  • Vaclav

    Even if the Isles aren’t interested in Whitney there may be a possibility of flipping him for a 2nd then moving that pick along with another pick or prospect to Long Island for Streit.

    Willis, there was some scuttlebutt about the Oilers poking around Grebeshkov for next season. His boxcars in the KHL haven’t been particularly inspiring. But barring a trade for another LH offensive d-man do you see him filling Whitney’s spot next season?

  • OilersBrass

    I doubt they’ll make a trade for him, Tambo has made it clear he doesn’t want to give anything more up. More likely to try and get him during the summer.

    • cabaj

      Don’t be naive. Tambo has also stated every single year that he, and every GM out there, is ALWAYS looking for ways to make the team better. Thats their job.

      Its nothing more than posturing. Tambo isn’t desperate to make a trade this year and so by pretending that he doesn’t want to make any trades, he may be driving up the price of potential offers.

      • OilersBrass

        Why would he trade away parts of the team when they are finally winning?
        They aren’t exactly in the playoffs quite yet, so he wont be getting rid of pieces of the team for a rental or a quick fix.
        I didn’t say he won’t make a trade, but if he does, it won’t be anything big.

  • Ducey

    I wouldn’t want to give up any future assets for a rental. The Oilers don’t have enough depth to do so (see LT’s post).

    The Oilers have to beat out St Louis for the last spot and thats not likely to happen.

    Trade Whitney and Bulin and Jones for picks and/or prospects (real prospects, not the Feaster kind).

    If Streit wants to come here as a UFA (maybe he will to be coached by Krueger) on a 2 yr deal great, but he isn’t going to make that much of a difference over 13 games.

    • Ogie Oilthorpe

      I am with you on the long shot.. However, next five game schedules

      Oil – CGY, VAN, LA, ANA, PHX

      Blues – CHI, CBJ, DET, NSH, MIN Detroit – PHX, CO, STL, SJ, CHI

      I would argue the Blues could have a tought time with all 5 teams, CBJ has been on a tear and NSH is pissed, but those are not tough clubs.

      Rooting for Detroit against the blues they have a decent shot at going 1 in 4 in the next 5 games.

      If the oil can upset LA and/or Anaheim the standings would look quite a bit better. 3-2, 4-1?? But currently St. Louis is the better team and management seems to be positioning them for a playoff run.

  • A-Mc

    I dont know if i can get over that 35 next to the Age column. He’s old balls man..

    Personally, i’d try to keep Whitney AND go after Streit as a rental to finish off the season. By seasons end, you can decide if you want 1 or the other or both.

  • vetinari

    You would definitely need to ship a defenceman back, but I think that they’d have more interest in someone like Potter and maybe either a goalie (Khabibulin) or a winger (like Jones). Potter has some puck moving capability and another year on his contract so he may be more attractive to the Islanders long term.

  • G Money

    If you are a legitimate contender, you give away the future (picks, prospects) to get short-term rentals to address weaknesses and add depth to enhance your chances of winning now.

    If you are out of the playoffs, you trade away your rentals (pending UFAs) for futures.

    If you are a bubble team, which the Oilers are, the real tradeoff is balancing the benefits of short-term playoff revenue against the pain of weakening your depth in the future.

    The Oilers and Katz do not need revenue.

    They are a young team with a bright future and still at least a year away from being a legitimate contender.

    Right now, they should be either standing pat or selling, not buying.

    This summer, the likely cost and expected decline of Streit does not look like a good fit either.

  • Ducey

    Who would trade their top 4 d man,who is a UFA, for a third pairing d man, damaged goods, who is also a UFA? Mike Milbury isnt managing anymore.

    Isnt going to happen, because NY would not trade even up, and I wouldnt want to give up other decent assets beyond Whitney, unless they would see value and accept, guys like Pitlick, or other
    low rung AHL’ers.

    Not that I would sign a 35 yr. old, but Streit could be had at seasons end without giving up any assets.

  • Ducey

    Would NYI be interested in Peckham (still would have him next year) and a 2nd for streit? I’m not a fan of the oilers carrying 8 d but oh we’ll. pair streit with J Schultz and have nick Schultz with Whitney and potter/fistric as 7/8.

  • Ogie Oilthorpe

    I think it’s better for NYI to just do the “in house rental” with Striet. He’s their captain and their best D-man.

    Word on the playground has most thinking the Oilers will stay pat today and tomorrow. Same kind of thing as above paragraph. Reason: Draft picks wont help in the future.

    I disagree with this notion. I think in two years, depending on the cap, young players on ELC with a small cap hit could be very integral in a playoff push as they only need to be secondary players.

    That’s one option. Another, a pick or prospect could be dealt at next years, or the year after, TDL for experienced help.

    With that in mind, I think Whitney, Khabi, Jones, Petrell and Fistric (not all, but two or three of the upcoming UFAs) should be dealt. Lander, Harti, Peckham could fill in for the rest of the year and the Oilers can still make a good run at it while obtaining assets for future deals. JMO

    I do want a thug to come in right away, but with the costs right now for players I’m not sure that would be smart asset management going forward. Thoughts?

  • oilerjed

    Could be a way to kill two birds with one puck. Upgrade on Whitney and unload a contract or two that gives us more room going forward. omark’s rights + a dman prospect that we dont have room for.

    plus Whiutney of course

  • Spydyr

    If the Oilers can trade Whitney ++ without giving up much of the future it is completely worth it.

    The Islanders would not do it straight up. But if it is Khabibulin & Whitney + 4th Rd Pick. It is a good deal. Both players are RFA. A 4th is a lottery ticket.

    Even if it was Whitney & Jones + 4th Round pick, the Oilers are better.

  • 27Ginge

    If their is any chance at all of resigning the guy then the oil could trade Nick Schultz for him. Probably have to sweeten it up a bit still. Maybe Schultz, Anaheim’s 2nd and Edmonton’s 3rd is in the ballpark. Maybe not?

  • Admiral Ackbar

    I think Streit would be a solid upgrade over Whitney. I wouldn’t want it to cost a lot because Streit likely may not resign with the Oil.

    If management were confident that they could ink him to a year or two at his current price (preferrably less), I think he’d be a solid mentor for JSchultzy who is trying to be a similar type of player. At 35 years old, I’d invite that on such a young team.

    This guy is good, far better than Whitney: he has a right AND a left ankle.

  • Old Retired Guy (A.K.A. Die-Nasty)

    The only way I’d keep Whitney past the deadline is if the Oilers management feels that he is/has legitimately come around/recovered AND they want to resign him in the summer AND they have a STRONG indication that he still wants to play here AND he is willing to sign for half of what in makes now.

    In other words, move him if you get the right offer. Whitney and a second for Streit.

  • The Soup Fascist

    A small, softish 35 year old D-man. Where does the line form? I get that RK would get the most out of Streit as possible given their history. But Whitney is much improved from the beginning of the year – hard not to be. His feet will never be fleet anymore but is Streit REALLY a big upgrade that it would be smart for McLowebellini to throw in Whitney and picks / prospects?

  • Randaman

    I’m with Tambi on this one. WHY do we NEED to make a trade this year unless it will improve the core? Trade Deadline will not be the time to do ths at all. Too many teams on the bubble. Stand Pat and if we make it, GREAT. If not, continue building this summer and make the leap next year.

  • Quicksilver ballet

    Tall, lanky, long reach, able to execute blueline standup checks and reestablish position without breaking system integrity, , and with a territorial nasty streak ability and willingness to hurt other players in need be, this is the template we need. Streit doesnt fit at all.

    But Yandle sure does.

    For Yandle we can give them Horcoff, and Whitney, and we will even throw in Tuebert to top it off. They want Gagner but cant get him or MPS.

  • PlayDirty

    Older and only has 12 NHL playoff games under his belt. Good skill-set for us but this is the type of guy you would only take if you could get a 2-year deal. Others will give him more than that. Good for them, not for us.