If you think a team trading their captain at the deadline is taboo or shows some measure of disorder within the locker room, think again.
The practice is becoming common place in the NHL—with notable team leaders like Chris Clark and Brian McCabe being shipped to new locations in order for teams to showcase a new brighter star, or the help the team's foundation for the future by building through draft picks and prospects.
The New York Islanders currently are looking to do both.
Everybody knew from the moment he was drafted No. 1 overall that this was going to be John Tavares' team. Naming Mark Streit captain was a no-brainer—he was a player over 30 who has performed well over the years, a rarity when you play for the Islanders.
The guys from Uniondale are currently in a power struggle with the Carolina Hurricanes as to who can claim the title cellar dweller of the East for the 2011-12 season. The Islanders are also searching for a lottery pick in this year's draft. If the Islanders can't hit on their first pick, why not increase the percentages and ship off veterans that are not needed, and build the future with the bounty received from them?
Case in point: Mark Streit.
The Islanders don't need him, and in their current position, ridding themselves of his services would greatly increase their chances of acquiring a higher draft pick. He is exactly what the New Jersey Devils need.
New Jersey is currently sitting in the eighth and final playoff position in the East. The Devils and their fans should not be worried—the team is clicking and the stars are coming to life after a less-than-stellar start to the season. Most of their success can be attributed to their two rookies Adam Larsson and Adam Henrique.
Henrique has filled the hole at first line center with passing grades. However, Larsson is not ready to take on the duties of a true No. 1 defenseman that can lead a team into the playoffs. Mark Streit can be the puck moving defenseman and power play specialist the Devils so badly yearn for.
What does Mark Streit bring to the game?
Well, for starters, he brings a half-point per game on offense with him from one of the league's worst teams—no easy feat by any stretch of the imagination. Of his 19 points, 14 have come on the power play, a part of New Jersey's game that needs desperate improvement. On the power play, the Devils remain one of the worst in the league.
Picking up Streit would allow Kovalchuk to either only play one shift and stay fresh for the remainder of the period, or have him move to the wing. Streit can log over 20 minutes a night as well, taking some pressure off other overworked defensemen.
Streit is on the books for this season and next at $ 4.1 per year (via Cap Geek).
The Devils will have enough cap space at the trade deadline and more than enough money next year for Streit. The Islanders will most likely not want to take salary back and just accept picks and/or prospects. New Jersey could dangle defensive prospects Jon Merill and Alexander Urbom and have a decent number of draft choices—including a second rounder from Washington that they wouldn't miss, were they to acquire Streit.