Harper dealt to Islanders 6/12
He won't be back for the team's fifth season in Glens Falls.
The Philadelphia Flyers on Wednesday dealt the winger, an impending restricted free agent, and a fourth-round pick to the New York Islanders for soon-to-be-unrestricted-free-agent defenseman Mark Streit, a perennial point-producer and former all-star that can significantly strengthen their blue line.
Harper was not immediately available for comment, though a message was left on his cell phone.
Harper was a prolific scorer in his junior hockey career with the WHL's Everett Silvertips, and ranked sixth in that league with 42 goals during his overage season, 2009-10. But he was never able to replicate that success at the AHL level, netting just 41 points in 143 games over four seasons.
The California native's most productive season with the Phantoms came in 2011-12, when he produced 13-14-27 in 70 games and scored the overtime game-winner in the AHL Outdoor Classic at Citizens Bank Park. But he fell off sharply under Phantoms coach Terry Murray this season, netting just 5-5-10 in 48 games, and was demoted to the ECHL's Trenton Titans on more than one occasion.
Meanwhile, sources told Newsday that Streit wasn't planning on returning to the Islanders, that the captain turned down the team's best offer and he was planning on testing free agency on July 5. The Flyers could have pushed for him then, but they now have a few weeks to try and get a deal in place before any team can make their pitch. If they get a deal done, they get an established puck-mover who has produced 65-223-288 in 491 NHL games and can help quarterback the team's power play.
"Mark is a player we would have had interest in on July 5," Flyers general manager Paul Holmgren told the Flyers' website. "We now have exclusive negotiating rights and we are hopeful that we can get an agreement in place prior to him becoming an unrestricted free agent."
If they don't lock Streit up, it's not like they sold the farm to get his rights. Harper was going to be a restricted free agent this summer, so they would have had to tender him a qualifying offer to retain his rights. NHL teams are only allotted 50 contracts, and the Flyers have a bevy of prospects who are turning pro and will begin to count against that limit. Mark Alt, Kyle Flanagan, Petr Straka, Maxim Lamarche and Michael Raffl immediately come to mind. Harper becomes expandable in that case.
Harper finishes his Phantoms career 10th on the team's all-time games played list with 143. The other Phantoms to play in all four seasons in Glens Falls are Ben Holmstrom, Marc-Andre Bourdon and Erik Gustafsson.