In case you missed it, the Flyers traded Shane Harper and a 2014 fourth round pick to the New York Islanders today for defenseman Mark Streit.
Streit, 35, is slated to become an unrestricted free agent on July 5, so the Flyers have a little more than three weeks to work out a deal with him before he can test the market.
However, after talking to Streit today, I get the sense that it won't take that long.
Below is a transcription of my interview with Streit, who is back home in Switzerland. He sure sounds like a guy who is ready to commit to playing for the Flyers and isn't looking to necessarily hit that free agent market.
In other words, this isn't the same as when the Flyers tried the same thing with Dan Hamhuis a couple summers ago...
Q: Mark, what is your reaction to the trade today?
“It’s an exciting time for me. Obviously I’m excited to get traded to Philadelphia. I’m not sure what’s going to happen the next few weeks – or days – it’s part of my agent’s [Pat Brisson] job to work that out with [Flyers general manager] Paul [Holmgren], but Philly has an unbelievable team. It’s a great franchise and a great city and it’s a hockey town for sure. The fans there are great and that’s why I always liked playing in Philly. The team is really good. It’s well-structured. It’s young and fast and it would be a great honor to play for the Flyers.”
Q: What’s your confidence level that something will get done between Pat and Paul here in the next few weeks?
“I’m pretty confident. I think that maybe they need a few days or weeks, but I’m pretty positive. It’d be awesome to play for the Flyers. The future is bright. They were in the Cup Finals three years ago and there is so much skill and a great mix between veteran players and young players, so I’m pretty confident and I truly hope it’s going to get done soon.”
Q: I know you played with Bruno Gervais in New York, are you familiar with any other Flyers players?
“Bruno was my partner for a year. I know him well. He’s a great guy and I love him. He’s a great guy to have on the team. I know Danny Briere a little bit too. I worked out with him in Los Angeles when we were both 18 years old. I know he’s a great player and a great guy. The other guys – when you play a team so much because you are in the same division, you get to know them – especially guys like [Claude] Giroux and [Scott] Hartnell and [Kimmo] Timonen. You get to know those guys when you play them. It’s exciting.
Q: Knowing the Flyers from playing against them as much as you have, what do you think about this team coming off a down year where they missed the playoffs?
“I think they had a slow start in years past and finally got going toward the end of the season and made the playoffs. This year was a short season and they had lots of injuries as well. That makes it tough. It was a special year because of the lockout. That gave an advantage to some teams and some teams struggled. But when you see the Flyers lineup, it is a playoff team. It’s no question to me. I believe the Flyers will be in the playoffs next year. They have the skill and the physical part of it. It’s a great group and I’d love to join that team.”
Q: You were the captain in New York. Is it easy to bring those leadership qualities into a new situation?
“I’m not going to just walk into the locker room and [take control]. You have to blend in a little bit… You get to the team and you want to lead by example first. You want to play well on the ice and lead on the ice. Over time you make yourself a little more comfortable and get to know the guys better and you see how the room is. If there comes a time to speak up, you speak up. But, I’ve always wanted to be a guy to lead on the ice. I’ve been around for awhile and I’ve been a captain on different teams. So, yes, I bring leadership and that’s what I like to do. But I’ll do whatever it takes to make the team better because at the end of the day you want to win as a team.”
Oh, and for those of you still following along with my awful prognstications (8-6 after going 1-1 in the Conference Finals) here's a Stanley Cup Finals pick for you:
I like the Bruins in 6. You're welcome Blackhawks fans.