TSN Hockey Insider has reported that the New York Islanders are unlikely to extend their captain, Mark Streit. This comes as bit of a shock to Islanders fans, as Snow had come out and said that he was optimistic a deal would be done with the speedy blue liner shortly after the Visnovsky deal was completed.
The feeling amongst Islander fans appears to be apathetic towards the news. Most fans have grown tired of his lack of defensive presence, and his inability to make smart plays with the puck. He has definitely lost a step since he suffered that injury a few years ago, and people haven't warmed up to his decline in play. Darren Dreger also stated that the Islanders are likely to hold onto him to make a playoff push.
This leaves us with a discussion, however. Who is going to replace Streit, both on the blue line and as the captain? The answer to the latter shouldn't be a question, that it should be John Tavares, but the first is definitely an interesting debate. Assuming the Islanders retain Thomas Hickey and Travis Hamonic as restricted free agents after the season, their defensemen would be (in no particular order) Travis Hamonic, Andrew MacDonald, Lubomir Visnovsky, Brian Strait, Thomas Hickey, Matt Carkner and Joe Finley. While this is enough to plug up 3 defensive pairings and have an extra skater, one would assume that they'd want one of their kids to take the next step. Those players could be Scott Mayfield, Aaron Ness, Calvin de Haan, Griffin Reinhart, amongst others. I'd have to say that Reinhart is probably more likely to spend next year in the minors once again, but there are still questions to be answered as to who would replace Mark Streit. The answer is hard to predict, especially since the Isles are in a playoff surge, but it definitely will be interesting come Free Agency.
Who do you think the Isles will get to replace Streit? Will it be someone from within the organization? Let me know in the comments, or tweet me @Tartmaster or @first_tensports!