New York Islanders Anders Lee Jordan Eberle Play Same Role

SAN JOSE, CA - APRIL 22: Jordan Eberle
SAN JOSE, CA - APRIL 22: Jordan Eberle

New York Islanders captain John Tavares spoke to about his offseason and how he got engaged, recovered from an injury and surgery, as well as the acquisition of Jordan Eberle. Based on his comments there won’t be room for both Eberle and Lee on the top line.

First and foremost, congratulations are in order to the New York Islanders captain for proposing to his long-time girlfriend over the offseason. May you both have a lifetime of happiness.

What I wanted to go over wasn’t Tavares’ upcoming nuptials, but rather comments he made in regards to new and former teammate Jordan Eberle. Because it seems like Anders Lee might not be a lock for the first line after all.

I know that Tavares isn’t the most engaging speakers when it comes to the media. His comments are often cliché or as bland and boring as the story your grandpa has told you for the millionth time about buying ice-cream back in 1972.

I also know that Tavares is having good and open communication with the team on all matter, not just his contract. Matters like the Eberle/Strome trade. Surely his skill set and efficiency on the ice would have been discussed. Which is what Tavares is talking about here.

So looking at these comments at face value it’s telling on just how the organization feels Eberle would be best used on the ice.

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In speaking with Cory Wright, Tavares said the following about Eberle’s style of play and his most effective usage:

“I’m excited to have him, he’s obviously a very good hockey player with tremendous ability around the net, great hands and great hockey sense.” Tavares continued, “His skill sets are really strong. His ability to make plays and obviously he has a great touch around the net, so he’ll be a great asset to our power play which obviously struggled this past year and let us down”

If you didn’t know he was talking about Jordan Eberle you could swear he was referring to Anders Lee. The player that the New York Islanders already have on the team and already had a team leading nine power play goals last season.

Since Eberle’s acquisition, we’ve all thought that the Islanders top line on opening night will resemble something like Anders Lee (LW)-John Tavares (C)-Jordan Eberle (RW). But if Eberle’s best talents are in front of the net what does that make of Anders Lee?

Must Read: Anders Lee Prototypical Power Forward


Redundant on the first line. That’s what it makes him. Switching him with Josh Bailey and running a line such as Josh Bailey (LW)-John Tavares (C)-Jordan Eberle (RW) seems plausible then.

Both Eberle and Bailey would be on the natural sides, with Bailey being a lefty and Eberle a righty. Both would also play complementary roles to one-another. Just like Bailey and Lee did last season.

Same goes for that first power play unit. Two net front guys don’t make for a great power play. Splitting them up would. So who gets bumped to the second PP? My money’s on Lee.

We know that Tavares likes playing with Josh Bailey. It’s not to say that he doesn’t like playing with Lee. But if the organization is going to bring in one of his buddies, who plays a similar role it stands to reason that Lee might just play second fiddle in 2017-18.

Anders Lee will be just fine. He’ll be playing with Mathew Barzal and Joshua Ho-Sang on that second line. He’ll have energetic and creative youngsters to mold to play with.

Next: 2017-18 Is Bailey's Critical Year

These comments aren’t 100% guarantees of where the organization is going with its lineup, but it’s pretty telling of what they just might be thinking. Which might not sit well with some of the fan base who just plain don’t like Josh Bailey.