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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 48 30 14 4 156 127 64
2 NYI 46 31 14 1 151 129 63
3 DET 47 27 11 9 139 119 63
4 MTL 45 29 13 3 123 106 61
5 PIT 46 26 12 8 138 117 60
6 NYR 44 27 13 4 134 106 58
7 WSH 46 24 13 9 137 120 57
8 BOS 48 25 16 7 126 121 57
9 FLA 44 20 14 10 107 122 50
10 OTT 46 19 18 9 126 128 47
11 TOR 48 22 23 3 142 150 47
12 PHI 48 19 22 7 130 146 45
13 CBJ 45 20 22 3 113 142 43
14 NJD 47 17 22 8 107 134 42
15 CAR 46 16 25 5 98 120 37
16 BUF 47 14 30 3 89 167 31

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Tavares 46 21 24 -2 45
K. Okposo 46 14 30 -2 44
R. Strome 46 8 25 16 33
B. Nelson 46 15 15 6 30
F. Nielsen 46 9 16 4 25
J. Boychuk 36 4 18 15 22
J. Bailey 34 8 13 8 21
N. Leddy 46 7 14 15 21
N. Kulemin 46 11 9 1 20
A. Lee 40 13 5 7 18
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
J. Halak 25 9 0 .910 2.41
C. Johnson 6 5 0 .870 3.38

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