The New York Islanders second line is the primary reason that they’re only a point out of the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. First-year Islander Jordan Eberle deserves a ton of credit for keeping this team in the playoff conversation.
The last thirty-odd games of the New York Islanders 2017-18 season will be the determining factor of their postseason fate. The Isles first line has led them thus far this season. But the New York Islanders second line is why their dreams of making the playoffs are still alive.
In his first year in New York, Jordan Eberle has been a consummate professional, a team leader, and a driving force behind the Islanders constant struggle to stay in playoff contention. Mathew Barzal and Andrew Ladd have been his linemates for most of this year on the Isles outstanding second line.
When Ladd was injured towards the end of December, the Islanders tabbed Anthony Beauvillier to replace his spot on the wing. The positive results the Isles have seen since making the change have been astronomical. Not only that, the transition has been seamless.
More from Eyes On Isles
- Islanders key to success: Load management with goalies
- Islanders Zdeno Chara trending in the right direction
- Islanders: Semyon Varlamov Deserves Benefit of the Doubt
- Islanders Ilya Sorokin becoming number one goalie
- Islanders Zach Parise Was Quiet in Return to Minnesota
This shift from an even balance of veteran presence and rookie excitement on the second line to a twenty-seven-year-old playing with two youngsters couldn’t have gone any smoother.
Granted, Mathew Barzal and Anthony Beauvillier are a couple of very talented young players. But make no mistake, the glue that’s held this group together is Jordan Eberle.
The positive effects of Jordan Eberle on the New York Islanders
Throughout his career, Jordan Eberle has proven to be a talented, hard-working hockey player. Since coming to the New York Islanders in a trade this past offseason, he’s only solidified those characterizations. In a sense, Andrew Ladd’s injury may prove to be the turning point of this season.
There is no one on this team better suited to harness the raw, still-undeveloped talents of Beauvillier and Barzal. Jordan Eberle’s more-than-adequate skill level would land him on the top line of most teams in the NHL.
As Beauvillier, Barzal, and Eberle get more comfortable playing with each other, we could see the 1a/1b label make another appearance. Only this time, the outcome should prove to be a bit more beneficial to the New York Islanders.
That designation was last used to describe the goaltending combination of Jaroslav Halak and Thomas Greiss. Head coach Doug Weight decided to start this season without making a call on who would be the “starting” netminder.
We all know how that worked out. This time, it will be used to refer to the Isles monster top-six. Hopefully, that story will have a much happier ending.