|ESPN.com: NHL||[Print without images]|
The New York Islanders have traded captain Mark Streit to Philadelphia, giving the Flyers exclusive negotiating rights with the veteran defenseman before he becomes an unrestricted free agent in July.
The move was announced Wednesday by both teams.
In exchange for Streit, the Flyers sent back a fourth-round draft pick in 2014 and 24-year-old minor-league winger Shane Harper.
"Mark is a player we would have had interest in on July 5th. We now have exclusive negotiating rights and we are hopeful that we can get an agreement in place prior to him becoming a UFA," Flyers general manager Paul Holmgren said in a statement.
The trade comes following multiple reports that Streit and the Islanders planned to part ways as free agency approached. Streit's agent, Pat Brisson, is scheduled to speak with Holmgren later Wednesday.
The 35-year-old Bern, Switzerland native, who had six goals and 27 points in 48 regular-season games for the Islanders, is coming off a five-year, $20.5 million contract and is looking for a raise.
The Islanders' last offer to Streit, a three-year deal worth $4.75 million per year, was made before the trade deadline in April, a source told ESPNNewYork.com. It is believed that Streit is looking for a multiyear deal worth more than $5 million per year.
That should not be difficult for Streit to command on the open market, considering the premium on offensive-minded, puck-moving defensemen.
The fact that the Flyers moved a pick to obtain exclusive negotiating rights for Streit indicates Holmgren's desire to bolster the team's blue line.
The Flyers, however, also are expected to clear cap space with a few conspicuous contracts still on the books, like those for Ilya Bryzgalov and Danny Briere. Both players could be in line for a compliance buyout.
Streit's departure from the Islanders also makes it appear imminent that 22-year-old superstar center John Tavares will be named New York's captain before the 2013-14 season.
ESPN.com's Pierre LeBrun contributed to this report.