After a very solid year with the New York Islanders, Jordan Eberle slumped in his second season. What can we expect in year three?
Expectations were sky-high for Jordan Eberle in his second season with the New York Islanders, after being flipped for Ryan Strome a year prior. He had a 25 goal and 59 point season in year one showed some really solid chemistry with Mathew Barzal.
The only problem was, Jordan Eberle wasn’t reunited with Anthony Beauvillier and Mat Barzal this year. Instead, he spent a big chunk of the season with Brock Nelson and Anders Lee while Josh Bailey replaced him on the right-wing of Mat Barzal.
For a majority of the season, Eberle wasn’t an effective goal scorer. Through the first 67 games of the season, Eberle had 13 goals. It was only in his final 11 games where he began to heat up scoring six more goals over that span. He finished with 19 goals and 37 points, not nearly as productive as the Isles needed him to be.
His season featured a 17 game stretch where he was held without a goal. Luckily for the Islanders, he finished the year strong and was finally reunited with Mathew Barzal by the season’s end and it worked wonders.
In the playoffs, Eberle was a man on fire. He had a goal in each of the games against Pittsburgh including my personal favorite of the series, the game-winning goal in Game 2:
In surprising fashion, Lou Lamoriello decided to ink Eberle to a team-friendly five-year $27.5 million ($5.5 million AAV) deal on June 14. Lou was able to keep both Eberle and Anders Lee around long-term, so what can we expect out of Eberle this year?
It’s pretty clear, Eberle has to play alongside Mathew Barzal. Josh Bailey doesn’t seem to fit on that right-wing and Eb’s is a much better finisher than Bailey so it rounds out the line and makes it more balanced.
Ideally, Eberle continues his run from the playoffs and the end of the year into 2019-2020. Over the course of his career, Eberle averages 59 points over a 82 game season (ironically it was that same point total that he put up in 2017-2018).
In the Barry Trotz system, and at 29 years old maybe that comes down a little bit. I’ll go a tad bit conservative and say he finishes with 24 goals, 30 assists for 54 points. At $5.5 million against the cap, that’s good value.
Eberle is going to have to be a productive top-six option for the Islanders this year, that’s their biggest weakness so the Isles need the guys in a top-six role to play to their potential.