Replacing Andrei Markov’s production from the back end isn’t going to be easy and will fall to a group of blueliners. Chief among those defenders is Mark Streit who is set to begin his second stint with Montreal.
After being a top-four player for the better part of a decade, Streit’s role started to decrease as the season progressed with the Flyers and he became more of a power play threat while logging less time at full strength. Philadelphia then dealt him to Tampa Bay at the trade deadline as the Lightning unloaded some salary for this season in the form of Valtteri Filppula. He wasn’t there for long though as hours later, he was flipped to the Penguins to give them some more depth.
He fared relatively well with the Penguins during the regular season as he got into 19 games and logged a bit more than 17 minutes a night of ice time which isn’t bad at all for a third pairing player. However, when the playoffs got underway, he was mostly relegated to the press box, even as multiple regulars went down with injuries. While he ended up winning the Stanley Cup, Streit wound up playing a pretty minor role in their postseason run.
Season Stats: 68 GP, 6 goals, 21 assists, 27 points, -12 rating, 28 PIMS, 1 PPG, 2 GWG, 114 shots, 18:45 ATOI
Playoff Stats: 3 GP, 0 goals, 2 assists, 2 points, -1 rating, 0 PIMS, 0 PPG, 0 GWG, 2 shots, 15:03 ATOI
(Because of the lockout-shortened season, we are pro-rating all of 2012-13’s numbers over a full 82 game season.)
With all of the uncertainty surrounding who will play with Shea Weber (prospect Victor Mete isn’t likely to hold down that spot despite his presence there early in training camp) and who will fill out the last few spots on the back end, Streit could find himself in a variety of spots. Some have suggested that he could wind up with Weber but unless that’s just on the power play, that will be a recipe for disaster.
The most likely spot for him when he’s in the lineup will be on the third pairing at 5-on-5 with power play time. At this stage, Jordie Benn would be the likely partner but if he moves up with Weber at full strength, then Streit may have to shift to his off-side alongside someone like David Schlemko. If he’s in the lineup, he’d be a candidate to play on the top PP unit if they don’t go with a four-forward alignment but the second unit is the most likely spot for him.
While the organization may be hopeful that Streit will be able to pick up a good chunk of the offensive production that Markov provided in the past, that doesn’t seem entirely realistic. He’s not going to be able to log anywhere near the type of ice time that Markov did and with the thought of Jonathan Drouin playing the point on the power play, he’s probably not going to spend a ton of time on the top unit with Weber either.
Instead, a more reasonable expectation would be something closer to what Nathan Beaulieu provided on the scoresheet last year, a handful of goals while hovering around the 25 point mark. That still seems like pretty good value for only $700,000 guaranteed (with $300,000 in performances bonuses) but he’ll give back a sizable chunk of that with lacklustre defensive play. He’s also not likely to be an every-game player, especially if they wind up carrying eight out of the gate.
Streit isn’t an ideal candidate to carry a full-time roster spot in most fantasy leagues. While he’ll produce more than some blueliners, he doesn’t provide anything of note in terms of hits or blocks while he’ll hurt you in the plus/minus department as well. He’s intriguing as a plug-and-play option if you need offence (or power play production) late in the week in a head-to-head league and if he gets regular time on the top power play unit, then he may be worth rostering in a deeper pool. As far as the draft goes, there will be more reliable options out there.