MONTREAL — Mark Streit’s second stint with the Montreal Canadiens could wind up being shorter than anyone might have anticipated.
Sportsnet has learned that the Canadiens are actively shopping the 39-year-old defenceman, whom they signed to a one-year, $700,000-contract in July with $300,000 in potential performance bonuses.
Streit scored six goals and added 16 assists in 68 games split between the Philadelphia Flyers and Pittsburgh Penguins last season. But he’s only appeared in two of Montreal’s four games this year while averaging 14:33 per game.
Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin said at the team’s annual golf tournament in September that the left-handed defender was brought to Montreal to potentially supplant what the team lost on the power play when Andrei Markov signed with the KHL’s Ak-Bars Kazan in July.
The Swiss native has already been relegated to the outside of a crowded blue line, and the imminent return of David Schlemko, who’s been nursing a hand injury since the first week of training camp and is on the cusp of being cleared for action, will push him further to the periphery.
In order to activate Schlemko, the Canadiens will be forced to send 19-year-old Victor Mete back to the OHL’s London Knights or to waive or trade one of Streit, Brandon Davidson or Joe Morrow, who are all on one-way contracts.
The former scenario is most unlikely, considering Mete is logging just over 18 minutes per game and playing on the team’s top defensive pairing with Shea Weber. Also, if Mete is returned to the Knights, he cannot be recalled to the NHL unless there’s an emergency.
Since Davidson has drawn in for Streit and played well, and with Morrow signed over the summer for depth purposes, Streit appears to be the odd-man out.
He began his career in Montreal in 2005, playing largely as a power-play specialist and moonlighting at times as a forward. He signed a five-year deal with the New York Islanders in 2008 and recorded over 45 points in each of the three seasons that followed before notching 27 points in the lockout-abridged 2012-13 season.
Streit then played 3 1/2 seasons with the Flyers before he was traded to the Tampa Bay Lightning and flipped immediately to the 2017 Stanley Cup-winning Penguins on March 1.
In 786 NHL games, Streit has produced 96 goals and 434 points—including 207 on the power play.