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Behind The Bench: Mark Streit

by on 07/21/2011

Born: December 11, 1977
Ht: 5’11”
Wt: 202 lbs
Draft: 262nd overall by the Montreal Canadiens in 2004
Plays for: New York Islanders, Defensemen, Shoots Left
Jersey No.: #2

NHL Stats

Regular Season: 361 GP – 52 G – 162 A – 214 P
Playoffs: 12 GP – 1 G – 3 A – 4 P

Mark Streit was drafted 262nd overall at the age of 26 by the Montreal Canadiens. Pekka Rinne was drafted 4 spots previous before at 258th by the Nashville Predators in the 2004 NHL Entry Draft.

Unlike most hockey players who play from an early age and play junior or in Europe. Streit didn’t start his hockey career until he was 18. He started his career in Swiss National League A (Swiss Nationaliga A) with HC Fribourge-Gotteron in 1995 and played in 34 games with the team but only registered 4 points.

Swiss Nationaliga A teams player 50 games in a season

At the age 22, Streit came to North America in an attempt to make the NHL but went undrafted. Although unsuccessful, Streit spent the 99/00 season bouncing around the AHL. He played 43 games for the Springfield Falcons, scoring 3 goals and 12 assists for a total of 15 points.

After his short North American excursion, Streit went back to the Nationaliga and played 4 seasons with the ZSC Lions. He was a key member of the Lions, helping the team win a Swiss championship in 2001 and back-to-back IIHF Continental Cups in 2001 and 2002. Streit posted 16 and 23 points during the 00/01 and 01/02 seasons. He had a quiet but solid third season back in the Nationaliga and posted a Swiss-A career high in assists (20).

Streit had a fantastic fourth season with the Lions. He played in 48 games and posted a Swiss-A career high in goals (12), assists (24) and points (36). Streit’s hard work finally paid off and he was drafted 262nd overall by the Montreal Canadiens in 2004. Due to the lockout Streit played a fifth season with the Lions and finished third on the team in scoring. Streit smashed his previous Swiss-A career highs scoring 14 goals and 29 assists for a total of 43 points.

Streit made his NHL debut with the Canadiens during the 05/06 season. He dressed in 48 games and tallied 11 points. Streit made huge strides the following season after adjusting to the small North American ice. Streit improved to 36 points in 76 games, splitting time between defense and forward. Streit emerged as a true elite NHL defenseman in the 07/08 season. He played in 81 games and finished with 62 points. Streit finished the season 3rd in scoring among defensemen and was nominated for the Bill Masterson Trophy.

Streit was unhappy with all the time he spent being a forward in Montreal and when he became a free agent he opted to sign elsewhere. Streit signed a 5-year, $20.5M contract with the New York Islanders and became their number 1 defensemen. In his first season with the Islanders, Streit led the team in scoring with 56 points in 74 games and was selected to his first NHL All-Star game as a reserve player. Streit’s second season with the Islanders was the first time in his career he played all 82 games. He scored 11 goals and had 38 assist, good for 49 points that season.

Islanders fans had high hopes for their 10/11 season. Matt Moulson was coming off a 30 goal season, John Tavares and Kyle Okposo had a full year of NHL experience, Rick DiPietro was healthy and Streit was coming off his first healthy NHL season. Unfortuantely, things didn’t go as plan on the island. Both Streit and Okposo suffered shoulder injuries during training camp and DiPietro went down shortly after. Streit did not play a single game for the Islanders during the 10/11 season. The Islanders have announced they believe Streit will be ready for training camp.

Streit is a player with superb skills. He has a lot of tools at his disposal, he can skate, shoot, pass and has the smarts to do it all under pressure. He’s played both defense and forward which makes him an extremely versatile player. He is able to man the point on the power play and kill penalties. Streit is an offensive defensemen with a great first pass but is also able to rush the puck up the ice. Streit is a great jack-of-all-trades type of defensemen which any coach is happy to have but his true value comes on the power play.

Here’s a breakdown on his power play stats.

In 07/08:

  1. He finished tied for 2nd in power play scoring among defensemen.
  2. He finished in the top 15 for power play scoring among all players.
In 08/09:
  1. He finished 6th in power play scoring among defensemen.
In 09/10:
  1. He finished in the top 15 for power play scoring among defensemen.

I’d love for Streit to man my power play.

The New York Islanders have a good chance of making the playoffs next season. Why shouldn’t they? They have a top 9 of Moulson-Tavares-Parenteau, Grabner-Bailey-Okposo, Comeau-Nielsen-Niederreiter. That’s as skilled as any top 9 in the league. Couple their skilled forwards with the Islanders’ suddenly deep defense, new number one defense tandem; Andy MacDonald and Travis Hamonic, they were the only defensemen with a plus rating at the end of the season, a healthy Streit maning the point on the power play with rookie Calvin De Haan and veterans Mark Eaton, Milan Jurcina and Mike Mottau rounding out the group. The only question about the Islanders will be, can DiPietro stay healthy?

If Streit is healthy next season, expect a career season statistically from him. He should finish in the top 3 for defensemen scoring.

Behind The Bench appears Monday to Friday only on puckpuckgoose.com..

Edited by: John Jasinski
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