Tuesday, September 16, 2014
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Did the Flyers overpay Mark Streit?

BOSTON -- Mark Streit was in the right place at the right time.

Did the Flyers overpay Mark Streit?

(Gerry Broome/AP)
(Gerry Broome/AP)

BOSTON -- Mark Streit was in the right place at the right time.

But did the Flyers agree to terms with the former Islanders defenseman at the right price?

It would be easy to look at Streit’s new deal - a 4-year, $21 million pact - and say that the Flyers overpaid for the aging blue liner at first glance. 

But $5.25 million is actually near the market price for savvy veteran defensemen these days, if you look at the contracts recently signed by Sergei Gonchar and Lubomir Visonovsky.

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While Streit isn’t comparable in playing style to either of those players, all three are in the same age range and will be making comparable dollars in 2013-14 and beyond.

Consider these recent contracts:

MARK STREIT
Team: Philadelphia
Age: 35
Contract type: 35-plus
Terms: 4 years, $21 million
Average salary: $5.25 million
Known clauses: Limited no-trade clause (may provide list of teams to Flyers)
Previous deal: 5 years, $20.5 million (Islanders)

SERGEI GONCHAR
Team: Dallas
Age: 39
Contract type: 35-plus
Terms: 2 years, $10 million
Average salary: $5 million
Known clauses: Modified no-movement clause (trade window from Jan. 2015 through trade deadline)
Previous deal: 3 years, $16.5 million (Senators)

LUBOMIR VISNOVSKY
Team: N.Y. Islanders
Age: 36
Contract type: 35-plus
Terms: 2 years, $9.5 million
Average salary: $4.75 million
Known clauses: No-movement clause (with trade provision at 2015 deadline)
Previous deal: 5 years, $28 million (Oilers)

Visnovsky signed on March 30. Gonchar signed on June 8. Streit agreed to terms on Monday, according to sources.

Yes, Streit’s deal may pay him the most per-season of any of those players, but he also is likely the best player heading into the 2013-14 season.

Visnovsky played with Streit on Long Island last season. He isn’t as mobile as Streit and he wasn’t even interested in fulfilling his deal with the Islanders, choosing to come over from Russia after the lockout had ended.

Gonchar was still a power play specialist in Ottawa, but he is nearing the end of the rope in his career.

Many believe Streit has quite a bit more tread on the tires than his age might indicate. He wasn’t drafted until he was 26. And he missed an entire season (2010-11) because of a torn rotator cuff, which required surgery. He’s played just 491 games, compared to Visnovsky’s 771 and Gonchar’s 991 at the same age.

For my money, though, it’s not necessarily Streit’s salary that could be as potentially damaging as it is the term. Four years is a long time for an 35-year-old to continue playing. Streit will turn 40 halfway through the final year of the deal.

Since it is an “over 35” contract, Streit will count against the salary cap even if he chooses to retire before the deal is finished. There’s risk in any contract, though.

In the meantime, Streit was paid the going rate, something he definitely would have gotten in one of the NHL’s scarcest free agent markets ever.

Streit landed in the right place at the right time. Whether he’s the right player or not, we won’t begin to have any sort of clue until October.

For the latest updates, follow Frank Seravalli on Twitter: @DNFlyers

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Frank Seravalli Daily News Sports Columnist
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