Both Brock Nelson and Jordan Eberle are closing in on unrestricted free agency. How are contract negotiations between the two and the New York Islanders going? They haven’t moved yet it seems.
The New York Islanders have some interesting decisions to make as they approach the offseason. They have a number of players that will reach unrestricted free agency on July 1. Who do they try to keep and who do they let go?
The big names on the free agent list are Anders Lee, Robin Lehner, Brock Nelson, and Jordan Eberle. You have to think they’ll keep Anders Lee after making him the captain. With Lehner’s play of late you’d have to think the same goes for him.
But what about Nelson and Eberle?
According to the Fourth Period’s David Pagnotta, the New York Islanders and pending unrestricted free agent duo Brock Nelson and Jordan Eberle have not held substantive contract talks just yet.
What That Means – Brock Nelson
It’s still unclear what Brock Nelson is exactly. For years we’ve seen him as a player that has potential but rarely used it. That hasn’t been the case this season. Nelson is on pace to have his best season yet with a pace of 53 points.
Nelson has totally transformed his game under Barry Trotz. He’s become a reliable two-way center that can be counted on in any situation imaginable on any given night. Before Trotz, Nelson would routinely ghost in and out of games and couldn’t be counted.
Lou Lamoriello surely wants to make sure that the Nelson ghost doesn’t come back at some point this season. If Nelson can stay consistent through the season he’s going to get that contract. The Islanders won’t let a 50 point two-way center just walk out the door.
The Islanders could get away with a four year $22 million deal with Brock. But I wouldn’t’ expect that deal to come until the period between the end of the season and June 30. There’s no rush to get this done right now. The Islanders are clearly comfortable with the Brock Nelson situation to give it some more time.
What That Means – Jordan Eberle
Jordan Eberle is a good winger. At his peak, he seems like a 60 point player in the NHL. But is that worth the minimum $7 million a season that he’ll ask for on his next deal? Remember, he’s making $6 million. It’s hard to see him accepting less than a million dollar increase.
Lou Lamoriello and his team likely see the same situation unfolding in the months to come. Leaving Jordan Eberle looking at free agency. And why they haven’t held substantive talks yet.
The Islanders will certainly inquire about extending Eberle at some point. They still have to perform their due diligence. If they can get him for less than $7 million they’ll certainly sign him. But, again, that doesn’t seem likely at all.
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The New York Islanders have a ton of cap space to keep the free agents they want to keep. It’s just a matter of figuring out who those players are. When it comes to Nelson and Eberle, Nelson is the easy candidate while Eberle seems destined to find employment elsewhere.