Believe it or not, the New York Islanders have two of their signature players entering the last years of their deals this upcoming season and then they become unrestricted free agents. The Isles need to sign or trade Anders Lee and Jordan Eberle.
This coming season the New York Islanders are going to need Anders Lee and Jordan Eberle more than ever. The Isles need their offense next year and beyond. However, there needs to be a pro-active plan in place.
Obviously, Islander fans are still hurting from the departure of John Tavares. The organization rightly or wrongly took a leap of faith in trying to keep Tavares both last off-season and at February’s trade deadline.
More from Editorials
- 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
In all fairness, Tavares was a special situation. Having said that the franchise cannot go down that road again. Also, important to note is both Lee and Eberle do not make the impact that number 91 does on and off the ice.
Both Lee and Eberle recently turned 28 and have a number of good years ahead of them. Now is the time to see where each guy stands on signing an extension.
Both players could be very interested in signing now to land that financial security and also due to the fact that next summer’s unrestricted free agent class is much more deeper than in prior years.
One of Garth Snow’s bright spots was drafting Lee out of Notre Dame in the 6th round of the 2009 Draft. At 6’3, 231 lbs, the Minnesota native has become one of the most talented big men in the NHL.
After a disappointing 2015-16, Lee has been a monster goal-scorer these last two years hitting the back of the net 75 times during that span. On top of hitting the 40-goal mark last season, only five players in the league have scored more goals than Lee the last two years.
On a long-term deal, Lee is probably looking at an annual number at a little over $7 million. However, if Lee plays out next season and his production has a steep decline, the free agent market could look very different for him.
Also, Lee won’t be playing with Tavares this coming season. So that is something for he and his agent to consider in terms of how that could affect his 2017-18 numbers heading into free agency.
Eberle finished with 25 goals, 59 points, and was a plus-five (not too many Isles were pluses) last season. Considering how much of a slow start he got off too, those were terrific numbers.
Moving forward with Eberle seems like an ideal fit for the Islanders both in production and leadership.
Obviously, we are assuming Lou Lamoriello sees Lee and Eberle as pieces to the puzzle. As long as both Lee and Eberle open to signing new deals that make sense can’t see why Lou wouldn’t be on board. Having said that work needs to be done to decide if Lee and Eberle should stay or if they should go.