Re-signing Jordan Eberle and Anders Lee were two of the most prominent roster transactions of the New York Islanders 2019 off-season. However, neither player embarked upon 2019-20 with a very strong start. That is starting to change.
Following the New York Islanders playoff elimination at the hands of the Carolina Hurricanes, fans were left with many questions. Chief among them, the list of free agents to-be on the team’s roster. Jordan Eberle and Anders Lee were among that free agent crop.
The Islanders eventually got the band back together, inking Eberle to a five-year contract in mid-June. After missing out on Artemi Panarin, the Isles re-signed Lee to seven years, and he announced his return in emphatic fashion.
Unfortunately, neither player was lighting the world on fire initially. Ten games into the season, Lee had totaled four points. Eberle had three points and sustained an injury on October 12 that sidelined him until mid-November.
It’s safe to say neither player has fully found their stride, yet. But they’re both starting to produce in consequential ways.
Lee has four points in the previous five games. Eberle has three in that same time frame while potting his first two goals of the season. But those numbers don’t really reflect the full impact these two have had of late. The following numbers are from Natural Stat Trick.
Each player has finished in the top-three Islanders skaters in Fenwick For percentage in five of the team’s last six games. The exception being that stinker in Montreal.
One, or both, players have also logged shots from high-danger areas in each of the team’s previous six outings. They’re ranked one (Eberle) and three (Lee) in expected Goals For percentage since November 27.
The key for each of these two going forward will be mounting efforts like these consistently. We know the captain is capable of this. Anders Lee is among the top-20 NHL’ers in goals scored dating back to the 2016-17 season.
Eberle’s first season on Long Island saw him record 59 points, mostly alongside Anthony Beauvillier and Mathew Barzal, who had maybe (probably) the best rookie season we’ve seen this decade. But the winger’s 2018-19 campaign saw him record an off-putting 37 points. The fewest he’s posted since the lockout-shortened 2012-13 season.
This season, ESPN Fantasy Hockey has him projected to finish with 54 points and 22 goals. Very good numbers for a player with a $5.5 million cap hit. That’s 6.92 percent of their total cap and $101,851 per point.
The Islanders can collect points most nights with three goals. Over their lengthy point streak, they earned at least a point in eight games in which they scored three or fewer.
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If Eberle and Lee can contribute regularly, accompanied by the rest of the top-six, and the odd goal from the bottom-six or defense, the Islanders can win a lot of games.