Brian Strait, 28, Defense
Contract: Unrestricted Free Agent
Season stats: 52 GP - 1 G - 5 A - 6 pts - 43 shots - 15:26 ATOI - 47.2 CF%
Career stats: 182 GP - 6 G - 21 A - 27 pts - 159 shots - 16:57 ATOI - 46.3 CF%
Remember back in 2013 when bringing in Strait was an upgrade for the Islanders' defense? We've come a long way since then, and thanks to some development by New York's young blueliners, Strait wasn't needed as much in 2015-16.
We know Strait is a borderline-NHL defenseman, but Jack Capuano gives him more minutes than any of us expect. And Strait isn't a good possession player. Of the Isles d-men who played more than 50 games, Strait ranked seventhof eight in 5-on-5 Individual Corsi (108) and Fenwick (68). But can he turn in a surprise strong game here and there? Absolutely.
In fairness to Strait, while he's not the advanced stat beast someone like Nick Leddy is, he did do a better job than we give him credit for preventing shots this past season. Strait allowed a team-best 28.69 shots per 60 to go along with a third-best 50.1 opposing shot percentage at even strength, while ranking fourth-best of the d-men on the team in Goals Against per 60 (1.95).
The goaltenders' save percentage was 93.8 when Strait was on the ice (third of the d-men), which indicates Strait was probably helped out by Thomas Greiss and Jaroslav Halak, but also that Strait didn't surrender as many good chances as we're used to.
Where we got the Strait we've been known to complain about was on the PK. He played 79:47 of shorthanded ice time and allowed a team-best 7.68 shots per 60 for defensemen, but a team-worst 90 Opposing Goals For Percentage and 8.27 Goals Against per 60 on the kill. That means that when Strait was on the ice, his unit gave up a ton of easy chances that opposing teams cashed in. On a club that had a very good season on the kill, it stuck out like a sore thumb.
Overall, Islanders fans will likely get their wish and no longer have to deal with Strait dressing ahead of their favorite prospect. He might not have deserved all the criticism he got, but some of it was certainly very warranted.
IPB Grade: C-