There is nothing more exciting than having a true power play quarterback. You know what I'm talking about. A guy who can score goals and set up guys from the point. On the power play the offense runs through him so smooth you would think he's controlling the puck with a remote control.
Sometimes they're forwards (Martin St. Louis is a perfect example of a forward power play quarterback) but usually they're defenseman. And when you have one your power play is lethal. That one player makes all the difference.
The New York Rangers do not have that player. At least they don't have that player yet. Players with the team right now (Michael Del Zotto and John Moore) could yet turn into that, and guys in the farm (Calle Andersson) might be that guy in the future, but right now the Rangers don't have one. And their power play percentage (spoiler alert: it's bad) is a result.
So when news broke that Mark Streit was not going to re-sign with the New York Islanders this summer Rangers fans got excited. Streit is a power play quarterback.
In his time with the Islanders he played in 286 regular season games. In that span he scored 40 goals and added 139 assists for 179 points. In every season with the Islanders he's scored at over a .50 point per game pace, and his presence has helped the Islanders' offense and power play. Oh, he also scored five points (two goals and three assists) in six playoff games this year.
There are some concerns, though. Streit is 35 years old, and isn't getting any younger. From conversations with Islanders fans this year, it's clear he's lost a step on defense and isn't getting any faster. Still, in 48 games this year he notched six goals and 21 assists for 27 points, so it's clear his offense hasn't left him. But he's not getting any younger, so how much time would you be comfortable investing in him? Two years? Three years? More? How many years does he want?
The other issue? Money. Streit turned down a three-year, $14-15-million deal. It's believed Streit is looking for a deal north of $5.5-million a year. That's a hell of a price to pay for a defenseman on the wrong side of 35, especially when you think about how thin the free agent market is this year (and even thinner when it comes to defenseman) and how many teams could use a guy like Streit.
Does Streit fill a much-needed need for the Rangers? It's not even a question. Of course he does. But monetarily it might not make sense. And even if the Rangers do buy out Brad Richards to get even more cap space, do the Rangers really want to invest in Streit long term? (To me three years is long term for a guy 35 or older.)
That's the real question.
There's a need for sure. And I can't imagine Streit wouldn't cover the opportunity to stay in New York and play in the Garden, but he obviously left the Islanders because of money issues. The Rangers might not want to throw their weight around here.