There was a major change for the New York Islanders this past off-season. However, moves are coming for the blue and orange. The Isles will move Brock Nelson and Jordan Eberle during the season.
Lou Lamoriello will move both of them between now and the February NHL Trade Deadline.
One of the main reasons why both Nelson and Eberle will be moved is because the Isles do not want to clog up their top-six forward slots. Believe it or not, in the near future these slots will be accounted for.
Kids in the Pipeline
Clearly, Mathew Barzal, Anthony Beauvillier, and Josh Bailey will be a big part of the Isles top two forward lines for the next few years. Also, it’s been reported that the Isles are progressing towards a new low-term deal with their newly minted captain, Anders Lee.
In addition, the Isles have a number of kids in the pipeline not far away from the NHL. Kieffer Bellows is honing his game in Bridgeport and will be up with the Isles no later than the second half of this season. Oliver Wahlstrom, one of the Isles first-round picks from last June could be on the fast-track to the NHL.
Also, keep an eye out for one of the Isles second-round picks from last June in the center, Ruslan Iskhakov. The Isles are very excited about him as well.
Finally, there is a good chance the Islanders will have a top-ten pick in the upcoming June Draft which is loaded at the forward position.
If Nelson or Eberle were re-signed to a long-term deal they would be moved off the Isles top two-lines in the next year or two.
Age & Performance
Eberle has been a solid performer for the Isles. Under different circumstances, it would be a prudent move for the Isles to re-sign him. But given their current situation, it doesn’t make a lot of sense to sign the 28-year old winger (turns 29 in May) to a long-term deal.
In terms of Nelson, there are a couple of issues. Brock can play center but is not what the Isles should be striving for at the pivot. In addition, Nelson’s inconsistency has driven Islander management, the coaching staff, and the fan base mad these last few years.
So the question becomes can Lou find an in-season hockey trade for either Nelson or Eberle that helps the Isles now and for years to come? Or does Lou move one if not both of these established forwards for the best package of futures he can get and then use those assets in a separate deal this off-season for a proven player?
It will be interesting to see how things play out for the New York Islanders regarding the futures of both Brock Nelson and Jordan Eberle.