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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 MTL 62 41 16 5 171 135 87
2 NYI 64 41 21 2 205 179 84
3 NYR 61 38 17 6 192 152 82
4 TBL 64 38 20 6 210 171 82
5 DET 61 35 15 11 180 159 81
6 PIT 62 36 17 9 181 155 81
7 WSH 64 34 20 10 188 159 78
8 BOS 62 31 22 9 165 161 71
9 FLA 63 28 22 13 154 178 69
10 PHI 63 27 25 11 168 183 65
11 OTT 60 27 23 10 171 163 64
12 NJD 63 26 27 10 141 164 62
13 CBJ 62 26 32 4 160 196 56
14 CAR 61 24 30 7 142 162 55
15 TOR 63 25 33 5 170 193 55
16 BUF 63 19 39 5 123 212 43

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Tavares 64 30 35 4 65
K. Okposo 46 14 30 -2 44
R. Strome 64 14 27 22 41
B. Nelson 64 17 19 7 36
F. Nielsen 64 11 25 12 36
A. Lee 58 20 13 13 33
J. Bailey 52 12 19 10 31
J. Boychuk 54 7 23 16 30
N. Leddy 64 8 18 15 26
T. Hamonic 54 4 21 15 25
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
J. Halak 33 13 0 .911 2.46
C. Johnson 8 8 1 .889 3.08

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