With 40 points in 58 games, it doesn’t look like Jordan Eberle had a strong year for the New York Islanders, but context is key because it was a good year for him.
With 40 points in 58 games, it’s surprising to hear some fans think that Jordan Eberle needs to be better for the New York Islanders. Now in this third year with the team, and the second year since signing a five-year $27.5 million extension.
Sure, a 40 point season doesn’t look great for Eberle or for any player on the books for $5.5 million. But with only 58 games played in 19-20 (he missed ten games through injury) a 40 point return is just about what we should expect from Eberle.
Looking at the greater context of Eberle’s season and how those who are paid as much as he is, it was a good year for him.
Context is Key
Let’s just consider one thing real quick. Eberle scored 37 points in 78 last season. So even in an injury and COVID shortened 19-20 season, Eberle had more production than he did a year ago. With 40 points in 58 games this year, Eberle was on pace to score 57 points over a full 82 game season. That’s a wild improvement over last season.
Eberle still finished fifth on the team for scoring in the regular season. Three points back of Lee and Bailey. And he played ten fewer games. In the playoffs, Eberle put up 14 points in 22 games, putting him even in production with Anthony Beauvillier.
Could Eberle improve this year? Sure, ideally, Eberle can put up 60+ points as he did in 11-12 (76 points), 13-14 (65 points), and again in 14-15 (63 points).
But 56 points over a full 82 game season is a good return considering he’s playing in a defensive-minded system that prioritizes solid play at both ends of the ice over individual production.
The context of the system Ebele plays in is key.
Eberle had a good year for the Islanders in 2019-20 considering he missed ten games while the Islanders were at their peak. Eberle was there for the first game of the Isles ten-game winning streak but did not return until it was over on November 9.
During his absence, the Islanders were scoring 3.5 goals per game. That’s 0.72 goals-for more per game on average than their season average. Had Eberle been around during that time he would have certainly benefited from the Isles being more prolific in front of goal.
Now, I brought up his cap hit and how his production is similar to that of other players who carry a similar $5.5 million cap hit.
Of the nine forwards with a $5.5 million cap hit in the NHL, Eberle ranked fifth. He was as productive as Gustav Nyquist (41 points) and Jason Zucker (42 points) but played fewer games (ten games and two games less, respectively).
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Eberle had a good year for the Islanders and certainly bounced back from a disappointing 2018-19 season. I look forward to seeing a similar year in 20-21.