The New York Islanders will have to name a new captain for 2013-14. Mark Streit, the team's captain since 2011, has reportedly turned down the Islanders' best offer and will hit the open market on July 5th. The 35-year-old defenseman has played in 286 games for the Islanders dating back to the 2008-09 season and has been one of the team's most consistent defenseman.
This news is pretty surprising considering just a few weeks ago Streit indicated that he wanted to return to the Islanders. In a report seen on Newsday, Streit stressed how much he enjoys playing with the Isles.
"I’ve said it all along, I want to be back. I love it here, I love Long Island and the organization has been great to me.”
Less than a month later Streit is leaving the Islanders, intent on finding a new club. It's crazy how quickly things can change.
Streit just completed a five-year, $20.5 million contract that paid him an average of $4.1 million a season. It's fair to assume that the defenseman wanted a similar paycheck, if not a raise, after recording 74 points over his last 130 games. Details on his contract negotiations with the Islanders haven't been released, but it's fair to assume that the two sides must have been pretty far off for Streit to reject their best offer and state he's headed for free agency.
It's never easy for a team to watch their captain walk away. It's even more difficult when it's from a team that's struggling to find an identity. Is it time for John Tavares to take on the "C"?