While Claude Giroux has been on a tear since the month of November, another Philadelphia Flyer has sparked the offense from afar.
2012 2013 season concluded, there were several items on the Flyers’ list of things to do. One of them was finding a mobile, puck-moving defenseman. Enter, Mark Streit.
Ten months into his first season with the orange and black, Streit has been the agile, offensive-defenseman the Flyers sorely needed. It comes as no surprise that when the Flyers began to pick up speed back in November, that is when Mark Streit started to produce at a high-level. His five points in that month were all scored after the players-only meeting called by Giroux.
Streit’s career with the Flyers got off to a slow start. Through the first two months of the season, he scored one goal and had nine points through 26 games. Streit began to feel the venom of numerous Flyers fans, myself included. Now I’m eating my own words.
December began and Streit found his game. He equaled his production from the previous two months, scoring four goals and totaling nine points in 14 games. Streit continued to roll into January and February where he accumulated 11 points in 20 games. Since the month of December, Streit has 30 points in his last 53 games, all while averaging 20 minutes of ice time per game. During the month of April, he has five points in five games.
What was the cause of Streit’s turnaround? The first two months for him may have been an adjustment period. Streit had spent the last five years with the New York Islanders and when a player transitions from one organization to another, he sometimes needs to get used to a new environment. Once Streit settled into his role with the team, the points began to pile up. He ranks first among Flyers’ defensemen in points.
Considering Streit’s first two months, it is a remarkable accomplishment that he ranks 23rd in points among blue liners in the NHL.
Another point during the first two months of the season was Streit’s contract. His production did not match his contract.
The chart below shows players who rank in the top 25 among defensemen in scoring and whose cap hits are similar to Streit’s. (*I’ve eliminated players who have appeared in less than 70 games this season.)
As you can see, out of the seven defensemen listed, Streit is among the five who have cracked the top 25.
His production is well balanced between home – 20 points – and road games – 19 points. He has also come to play against division opponents as well, scoring 13 points in 28 games.
Good teams are well balanced from top to bottom. The forward depth of the Flyers is already well noted, but the production from the defensive unit can never be underestimated. Look no further than Streit’s backhand pass to Giroux during their most recent game against the Panthers. Teams make deep runs into the playoffs when every unit of the team produces. If the Flyers do make a run into the playoffs, expect Streit’s numbers to climb.