It has been reported by the Journal de Montreal that GM Marc Bergevin has extended a contract offer to former Canadien Mark Streit. The report suggests that the contract would be at a value of 1.5M for one season, so this seems like a great idea at first sight. So, is Streit the answer in Montreal? Really, it depends on the question being asked.
Despite Streit’s career 0.55ppg production, a look at his stats over the last two seasons show more of a 0.4ppg. This is essentially good enough for a player to earn his 1.5M, but not necessarily what is needed on the team. For comparison’s sake, Andrei Markov, over the same period, has produced at 0.56ppg. So, the slow down that everyone is talking about in relation to Andrei Markov still has him producing at the same pace as Streit’s average production in the league which he is now nowhere near. To complete the comparison, consider that Markov’s career stats are 0.58ppg, so perhaps the notion of his slow down are exaggerated. Then consider that over the last two seasons, Markov has played 144 games while Streit has played in 130 games so the longevity issue does not seem to be a factor for either player. So, if the question being asked is if Mark Streit is a suitable replacement for Markov playing next to Shea Weber, then Streit is definitely NOT the answer in Montreal.
Mark Streit has had a very nice career since leaving Montreal. His time on the Island and in Philadelphia were quite productive and made many Montreal fans regret ever allowing him to walk via free agency. Although this cannot be denied, his latest usage has been way more of a bottom-pairing defenceman with some PP time. Philadelphia used him this way for the greater part of last season, and when he found himself in Pittsburgh, they instead used him as a healthy scratch. At a 1.5M salary, it could be envisioned that this hire could be yet another depth move by Bergevin who never seems to end his search for bottom-pairing defenders. But if Streit will be utilized there, he is likely to be a better option than young Jerabek who needs to learn how to play in the league. He is also quite likely to cut ice time to Joe Morrow. Also, what was the point of giving away a draft pick for David Schlemko and his inflated 2M salary? So, it seems that even this is not a fit. So, if the question being asked is if Mark Streit is a suitable partner for Jordie Benn, then the answer is, yes, but why would Bergevin commit to such redundant and repetitive moves?
As the Pittsburgh Penguins made their way to their second straight title, Mark Streit was an insurance piece on a far more questionable blue line than that being iced by the Montreal Canadiens. So perhaps Mark Bergevin is asking Streit to come in, train, play sparingly, and be a mentor for Jakub Jerabek whose career aspirations should mirror those of Streit from everything I’ve heard. This seems like a bit of a stretch, and perhaps this explains why Streit, who should otherwise be jumping on this contract, is hesitating and this report is being published instead of the news that Montreal has brought Streit home. In this regard, the move would be a wise use of a very small amount of cap space. Not only can Streit mentor Jerabek, he can also provide some insight on the required mentality of champions, coming directly out of the Pittsburgh locker room. So, if the question being asked is if Mark Streit is a locker room fit that can fill the role of mentor on a young Montreal squad, then the answer is yes.
This reported contract offer to Streit should absolutely not change any fan’s mind regarding the status of Andrei Markov and Montreal’s definitive need to sign him. It also is not great news if it means that players like Jakub Jerabek and Joe Morrow get less ice-time. But if being brought into the locker in a mentor position is the goal of Marc Bergevin, then I think all Habs fans should be happy with this signing. It’s also a nice player to have under contract in case the injury bug hits hard. I guess the only question remaining is if Bergevin and the rest of Habs fans share this opinion and are viewing the possibility of signing Streit as a good thing or a useless waste of cap space.
Thanks for reading,