The New York Islanders locked up Brock Nelson on Thursday. It appears like they are prepared to let Jordan Eberle walk in free agency.
Rumor season is upon us, which is the most fun time of the year to be a New York Islanders blogger. This week the Islanders made sure to lock up their second line center for another six years but they might be ready to let another UFA walk.
According to David Pagnotta of The Fourth Period, the focus for the Islanders is shifting over to Robin Lehner and Anders Lee. For now, he says it looks like Jordan Eberle is going to hit the market, which after this year makes sense.
After a really solid first year with the Isles, Jordan Eberle started extremely slow this past season. Through the first 40 games this year, Eberle only had nine goals. His rough patch included a 10 game stretch where he was held without a goal.
At the end of the year, Jordan Eberle caught fire and actually, semi-saved his season. In his last 11 games of the year, Eberle had himself six goals including a multi-goal heroic game in Winnipeg to bring the Islanders back in a much-needed comeback victory.
That scoring touch continued into the playoffs when he had a goal in each of the four games in the Pittsburgh Penguins series. In eight playoff games, Eberle had nine points (4 goals, 5 assists). Despite a strong playoff push it looks like it wasn’t enough to get a contract with the Islanders.
Essentially, once Anders Lee was named captain it was assumed that Eberle would be gone. Let’s face it, they can only really sign one of the two, and it makes sense to choose your captain who is a year removed from a 40 goal season.
Trying to come up with a contract for Eberle is rather challenging. He just finished up a six-year $36 million deal. Now, 29-years-old, how long are you willing to go on him. Maybe a five-year $35 million deal will end up being his price tag?
It’s tough for me to see him take less money than what he was at, but after a down year, it’s hard to justify giving him a raise.
I don’t blame Lou Lamoriello, if the reports are true of course, going in a different direction. Eberle was a solid Islander, who you got for Ryan Strome straight up (still a wild trade). I think it’s okay to thank him for his service and move on.