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Flyers trade Streit for Filppula, draft picks

Posted by Eric Fisher On March 1

The Flyers traded assistant captain Mark Streit, but they didn’t get the salary cap relief they were seeking.

The Flyers traded Streit, whose $5.25 million salary was going to come off the books when he became a restricted free agent this summer, to the Lightning. But, in return, they received forward Valtteri Filppula and a fourth-round and seventh-round draft choice. Filppula, 32, has another year remaining on a contract that pays him $5 million per year.

Meanwhile, a lightning-fast move by Tampa Bay, if you’ll pardon the expression, sent Streit to the Penguins for a fourth-round draft choice.

Unless the Flyers wanted Filppula, who was very effective while spending most of his career with the Red Wings, the question is why they couldn’t send Streit to the Penguins for a fourth-round draft choice without taking on more salary in return. Although they didn’t dump salary, the Flyers shifted salary from defense to forward. The Flyers are trying to make room for young defensemen such as Robert Hagg, Samuel Morin and Travis Sanheim. Streit’s departure opens one spot for the young defensemen, who won’t initially make very much money.

It’s possible the Flyers could clear money under the salary cap at forward during the offseason. Matt Read is likely to be exposed in the expansion draft. Other forwards could be traded.

It’s also unlikely that the Flyers will re-sign veteran defenseman Nick Schultz, who has been a healthy scratch for most of this season. Schultz will be an unrestricted free agent this summer, as will defenseman Michael Del Zotto. It’s less certain whether the Flyers will attempt to sign Del Zotto. The price would have to be right, although the Flyers should have accepted the best offer they could at this time if they had ruled out re-signing Del Zotto.

Streit could be a valuable piece for the Penguins as the quarterback of a power play unit. He has 5 goals and 16 assists in 49 games this season; however, he has been mediocre, at best, in the defensive zone this season and last season.

Although Streit was the only player the Flyers traded before Wednesday’s trade deadline, they were active on other fronts. The Flyers re-signed goalie Michael Neuvirth and center Pierre-Edouard Bellemare to two-year contracts. Bellemare’s deal reportedly is worth $2.9 million. Neuvirth’s contract is reportedly worth $5 million.

The re-signing of Neuvirth doesn’t guarantee the netminder has a future in Philadelphia. NHL teams must expose at least one goalie under contract in the expansion draft for the new Las Vegas franchise. Having Neuvirth under contract means the Flyers don’t have to expose Anthony Stolarz or another of their young goalie prospects.

Neuvirth was slated to become an unrestricted free agent this summer, as is fellow goalie Steve Mason.

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