The New York Islanders have suffered enough losses this offseason with the departure of John Tavares. However, they’re hearing an eerily similar song from winger Jordan Eberle.
Acquired from the Edmonton Oilers for Ryan Strome prior to the start of the 2017-18 season, Eberle put up a strong season on the Islanders’ second line with 25 goals and 34 assists alongside Calder Trophy winner Mathew Barzal.
With Tavares out of the picture, Eberle is expected to take over a more expanded role in the offense as he could challenge Josh Bailey for first-line duties.
The problem is that there hasn’t been a peep about contract extension talks, which is eerily similar to the Tavares saga, which began last offseason.
That isn’t a good sign:
“To be honest, I haven’t had any conversations with anybody. Going into the summer, I was trying to focus on me and being the best I can be, and come into the camp the best I can be. Once that happens, you start trying to fill a role and try to make this team as good as it can be.”
If Tavares taught the Islanders anything, it’s act as soon as possible. Whether it’s getting an extension done or testing the market for Eberle, New York can’t lose the 28-year-old for nothing, just like they did with their former captain when he signed with the Toronto Maple Leafs on Jul. 1.
Given his consistency of being a 20-to-30 goal scorer in each of the past five years and the fact that he’s still in his prime, the Islanders could get a solid return for him should they opt to trade him. Granted, the Lou Lamoriello could be testing the market as you read this right now and we’d have no idea.
But acquiring at least a first-round draft pick is not out of the realm of possibilities for the Islanders should dealing Eberle become the only option. With new management at the helm, it’s unlikely that the Islanders will get as far with Eberle as they got with Tavares, so this could be a name that pops up on the trade market constantly this season, especially if the team is out of it come the league’s trade deadline in February.