If the New York Islanders are going to have a good season, they’ll need contributions from everyone, including Jordan Eberle. Over his last few games, he’s shown that he’s back to his best.
The 2018-19 season was a rough one for Jordan Eberle. The New York Islanders forward was having his worst year statistically, and it couldn’t be coming at the worst time. His contract was up at the end of the season. A UFA with a down year isn’t an attractive one.
Thankfully for him, the Isles were willing to sign him to a long-term extension. The two sides agreed to a five-year $27.5 million extension ($5.5 million AAV). The hope was that the 2018-19 version of Jordan Eberle wasn’t here to stay.
After a rough start to 2019-20, and missing ten games with an injury, it looks like the Isles were right to bet that the old Eberle would be back.
1. Putting up points
Over his last six games, Jordan Eberle has eight points. Through 25 games this season, Eberle has 17 points. That puts him on pace for 49 points by the end of the season. A ~50 point Jordan Eberle is exactly what they need this season.
The Islanders offensive deficiencies are well documented this season. They rank near the bottom for offense generated at 5on5 and in all situations. If they hope to sustain the success they’re having so far, they’ll need their offense to step up. That includes Jordan Eberle.
A 37 point season like the one he put up in 2018-19 wasn’t going to suffice this year. After signing a five-year extension in the off-season, the Islanders clearly indicated to Eberle and the fans that he’d be a core piece going forward.
To be fair, Eberle has only been a sub-0.62 points-per-game player once in his career. And that was last season. The Islanders figured he’d bounce back. And they were right. With 17 points in 25 games, he’s contributing at a 0.68 points-per-game pace.
2. The two Gary’s linking up
In his first season with the Islanders, Jordan Eberle was able to strike up a productive partnership with Mathew Barzal. Both had big years on the stats sheet. Barzal would win the Calder Trophy with an 85 point year while Eberle would hit 59 points.
Over the last two games, we’ve seen glimpses of that partnership striking up again.
In back-to-back games, the duo has worked together to create chances for Anders Lee to finish off. He’s also provided the secondary assist on Barzal’s last two goals.
The two Gary’s are finding each other on the ice more frequently. They have a history of working well together and it looks like they’ve found what works again.
3. Top-line: Established
With Eberle putting up points and connecting with Mathew Barzal again, the Islanders top-line is established. The two Gary’s provide the creativity on the line while Anders Lee is the net-front presence and in-the-slot finisher.
Over the last three-games, Barry Trotz has stuck with the trio of Eberle, Barzal, and Lee, and it’s paid off. With a combined 39:46 of 5on5 ice-time, the Isles top-line has created five goals.
Now if only they could sort out the third line.