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Flyers signing Mark Streit a questionable one for several reasons


It really hurts to see the Chicago Blackhawks, the team that prevented the Philadelphia Flyers from raising that elusive third Stanley Cup in 2010 battling one of the Flyers’ heated rivals (Boston Bruins) for another shot at something the Flyers haven’t won since the year my parents were married. If Chicago wins, it’s just another reminder of what could have (or maybe even should have) been three summers ago. If Boston wins, it’s another championship their city has that we don’t. Photo: www.sportstalkflorida.com


Anyways, I didn’t put this article together as another boo-hoo Philly sports fan. If anything, this series so far has taught us Flyers fans that there’s a lot more work to be done in getting the orange and black back to respectability.


In saying that, it looks like the Flyers are on the verge of making a/some move(s), but once again, this franchise has me scratching my head over what might transpire in the next week or so.


It was reported Monday that Mark Streit, the Flyers’ defensemen acquired last week from the Islanders, signed a four-year deal for $5.25 a season. Nothing is official yet. In fact,  Flyers GM Paul Holmgren even went as far as to release a statement about the progression (or lack thereof?) of the possible Streit deal. In a nutshell, the deal hasn’t been officially announced yet for several reasons. Most of them we know, but only some of which actually seem to make sense right now.


Let’s break it down:


1. The Flyers need to clear some cap room before they sign ANYBODY:


The NHL salary cap (which currently stands at $70.2 million) goes down to $64.3 million on July 5th. Oddly enough, this is the last day the Flyers have to negotiate exclusively with Streit. The Flyers’ current cap payroll is $69.81 million. Which means.....


2. Some players are gonna go:


The Flyers have reportedly told Danny Briere  they will anesty him, but enigmatic goalie Ilya Bryzgalov is still up in the air. If both Briere and Bryzgalov are amnestied, their buyouts would not count against the salary cap. It will be a sad day when Briere leaves the franchise. He’s been one of the most popular players on this team in recent memory and has some great postseason performances  under his belt. Only problem is, Briere is making $6.5 million, he’ll be 36 at the start of the season, he’s injury prone, and postseason performances mean nothing if your team can’t get to the postseason.


The same can’t really be said for Bryzgalov. Let’s be honest: the majority of the fans don’t like him, and he really isn’t comfortable in Philadelphia. Can you blame Bryzgalov for the Flyers’ decline in 2013? Hardly, but I think everyone is in agreement that overall, a change is needed for both parties involved. It’s just not a fit. Plus, clearing Bryzgalov’s $5.67 million dollar salary for next season will clear some cap room to eventually resign Claude Giroux (I won’t get into detail as to how the Flyers can exactly do that, but it is possible). The team doesn’t want Giroux to hit the free agent market next year when his contract expires. Furthermore, Brayden Schenn and Sean Couturier are restricted free agents next year as well.   


On a side note, if Bryzgalov isn’t returning, the Flyers may seek outside help for a netminder. I can’t see them just giving Steve Mason the job after only a few games last season. But then again, this is the team who traded Sergei Bobrovsky. Yep, the same Sergei Bobrovsky who just won the Vezina Trophy.......


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3.  Ultimately, does this deal really help the Flyers THAT much defensively?


To be fair, the free agent market is pretty thin on defense this offseason. Moreover, Luke Schenn and Kimmo Timonen don’t exactly strike fear into the hearts of the opposing team if you catch my drift. Streit is the biggest name out there and a marginal upgrade to arguably one of the NHL’s worst blue lines in 2013.


The only problem is, Streit’s 35, and the Flyers are on the verge of giving a four-year deal worth $5.25 million a season to a player already believed to be on the decline. How effective will Streit be in two years let alone four? He’ll help the Flyers on the power play and he moves the puck well. In saying that, he’s not a true number one defenseman, and a three-year deal would’ve have been much more practical. In a nutshell, Mark Streit seems more of a band-aid than anything for a Flyers team needing quite a few fixes.


Contact Joe Vallee at jvallee@philly2philly.com


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