As the most recent addition to the New York Islanders, Jordan Eberle enters the 2017-2018 with high expectations to meet.
New York Islanders fans prayers for a first line winger seemed to be answered this off-season after the trade of Ryan Strome for then Edmonton Oilers forward, Jordan Eberle. For seasons, fans have been clamoring for someone to play alongside the team’s superstar and captain, John Tavares and they may finally have their solution.
Although last season’s first line of Anders Lee and Josh Bailey beside John Tavares turned all three players into high scorers, it was also becoming important to send the message to the captain that the team was committed to giving him established talent to play alongside of.
To see how Eberle will fair in his new position beside Tavares, it’s important to look at his past years with NHL star, Connor McDavid and also his chemistry with the Islanders’ forward in years before.
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Eberle With the Oilers
In Eberle’s last seasons with the Edmonton Oilers, he admittedly did not play to his full potential. Although by April, he did tally a total of 51 points (20 G, 31 A), the forward went through periods of not scoring at all, with pointless streaks lasting five games or more as times.
Because of this (or maybe attributing to this), Eberle spent his season bouncing from line to line, beginning and ending beside McDavid with stints on the second and fourth lines in the mid-season months.
However streaky Eberle was, a 50+ point season is nothing to quickly dismiss and his history of 60+ point seasons with his former team display is actual ceiling of productivity.
Although the talent he was surrounded by certainly wasn’t the issue, it may have been a lack of chemistry between he and his teammates, a problem that could be fixed by joining the New York Islanders’ first line with John Tavares, a player he has history with.
John Tavares and Jordan Eberle
Any fan of minor league hockey has seen Jordan Eberle’s game-tying goal in the very last seconds of Team Canada’s semifinal match against Team Russia in the 2009 World Junior Championship. Lesser known is the fact that this historic goal was set up by John Tavares.
Going on to win Canada’s 15th gold medal in the WJC, Tavares and Eberle worked well together as line mates, each breaking 10 points in only 6 games in the tournament. The two clearly clicked. Whether that chemistry has transferred from 2009 to 2017 has yet to be fully seen, but for the first preseason game this year where the line’s connection was on full display.
Lest we forget Eberle’s other future line mate, Anders Lee. Having had a fantastic 2016-2017 season, breaking the 30-goal benchmark for the first time in his career, the forward earned a spot on the team’s first line once again. His aggressive net-front presence combined with Eberle and Tavares’ puck handling skills will certainly make for a highly productive first line.
What To Expect
All things considered, Jordan Eberle and John Tavares should benefit from each other presence, both seeing boosts in point production as the season begins.
Taking into consideration a month or so for Eberle to adjust to his new environment and the coaching style of Doug Weight, it seems fair to expect as at least 25 goals from the winger with 40-45 assists alongside the New York Islanders captain.