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Making A Commitment

Islanders sign d-man Brian Strait to extension after six games with the team

Friday, 02.01.2013 / 12:01 PM / News
By Travis Betts
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Making A Commitment
Islanders sign d-man Brian Strait to extension after six games with the team
Brian Strait was on the outside looking in just two weeks ago, planning for the long drive from Pittsburgh back to Wilkes-Barre where he’d continue working toward his NHL dream. He was placed on waivers during training camp, and expected to return to the Penguins’ AHL affiliate, where he’d played 220 games over the last four seasons. But before the 24-hour waiver window closed on Jan. 18, the Islanders canceled his road trip, claiming the Boston native to shore up their blue line.

Just six games into the season, the Islanders made a bigger commitment to Strait, inking him to a three-year extension through 2015-16.

“I was ecstatic that they wanted me to be an Islander for three more years,” Strait said. “I jumped on the opportunity obviously. Since I came here, it’s been great. I couldn’t ask for a better change. I appreciate everything the Islanders are doing for me. It’s a dream come true.”

While Islander fans are just getting to know Strait, who has been matched up with Mark Streit on the Islanders top defensive pairing, the coaching staff and management have followed the 25-year-old’s progress for years. Strait was drafted by the Penguins in 2006 and has appeared in 12 games for Pittsburgh over the last two seasons.

Islanders Head Coach Jack Capuano is among those least surprised by Strait’s immediate success with the Islanders.

“Everybody’s seen him play in the past and we knew what he could bring to the table,” Capuano said. “He’s a good, solid individual, a great character guy who fits in our room and that’s the most important thing. Secondly, I think his play speaks volumes. He has good decision-making and moves the puck real well. Defensively he’s been real strong. It’s not real surprising for us.”

More surprised, perhaps, was Strait, who was one of four waiver claims trying to earn a long-term roster spot with the Islanders.

“I thought maybe if I played a good 20-25 games that things would happen, but obviously they saw something and wanted to make a deal earlier. I was extremely excited. I couldn’t ask for a better situation.”

Capuano expects Strait to follow the path of other Islanders who’d been overlooked by other organizations before finding success on Long Island.

Brian Strait
Defense - NYI
GOALS: 0 | ASST: 0 | PTS: 0
SOG: 7 | +/-: 1
“If you look at Michael Grabner and Matt Moulson, those are guys that really didn’t get too much of a chance with other organizations for whatever reason, and they got a chance and really excelled here,” Capuano said. “Brian’s got a good mind about the game and he goes about his business and that’s what I like. He’s deserving of the opportunity that he got and he’s taking advantage of it.”

Signing the contract extension is by no means a finish line for the 6’1, 200-pound blueliner. He knows what he has to do to continue helping the team win hockey games.

“I have to stick to my attributes, the things that I do well, in order to help the team,” Strait said. “That means playing strong defense. I’m considered a defensive defenseman. The simpler I keep it and the more times I can get the puck out of our zone and up to our forwards, who are extremely skilled and can score at the blink of an eye, I’m helping our team.”

As a defensive defenseman, Strait provides stability on the Islanders back end. And the three-year commitment does likewise for Strait.

SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 TBL 50 31 15 4 163 132 66
2 MTL 47 31 13 3 127 108 65
3 NYI 48 32 15 1 157 135 65
4 DET 49 28 12 9 145 128 65
5 PIT 49 28 13 8 145 125 64
6 WSH 48 25 14 9 144 124 59
7 BOS 49 26 16 7 131 123 59
8 NYR 46 27 15 4 135 111 58
9 FLA 46 21 15 10 114 129 52
10 PHI 50 21 22 7 139 151 49
11 TOR 50 22 24 4 144 155 48
12 OTT 47 19 19 9 129 134 47
13 CBJ 47 21 23 3 119 148 45
14 NJD 49 18 22 9 110 137 45
15 CAR 48 17 25 6 104 125 40
16 BUF 50 14 33 3 94 179 31

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Tavares 48 23 25 -1 48
K. Okposo 46 14 30 -2 44
R. Strome 48 9 25 16 34
B. Nelson 48 15 15 5 30
F. Nielsen 48 9 17 4 26
J. Boychuk 38 4 21 16 25
J. Bailey 36 8 14 7 22
N. Leddy 48 7 14 14 21
N. Kulemin 48 11 9 0 20
A. Lee 42 13 5 6 18
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
J. Halak 26 10 0 .912 2.42
C. Johnson 6 5 0 .870 3.38

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