The New York Islanders announced on Thursday that they have acquired forward Jordan Eberle from the Edmonton Oilers for forward Ryan Strome.
The Islanders have been in desperate need of scoring help for captain John Tavares. Set to hit free agency in the summer of 2018, general manager Garth Snow has to show the All-Star that the team is committed to winning.
Eberle's acquisition is a step in the right direction.
The 27-year-old has seven NHL seasons under his belt and will be placed into a system where he will be as vital as he was during his earlier years in Edmonton. Before the arrivals of Connor McDavid, Leon Draisaitl and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Eberle was one of the Oilers' premier offensive forces, scoring 34 goals during the 2011-12 season and 28 two years later.
Despite playing in all 82 games last year, Eberle averaged a career-low 16:46 time on ice and still managed to put up 20 goals and 31 assists.
“We’re excited to add a proven offensive weapon like Jordan to our lineup,” Islanders president and general manager Garth Snow said. “He brings speed and a knack for scoring not only consistently, but scoring big goals in big games. Jordan brings leadership and experience into our room, qualities that will continue to help us build towards our goals of being a consistent playoff contender and winning the Stanley Cup.”
The right winger can play on either the first line, flanking Tavares and Anders Lee, or move to the second line if the team is committed to keeping Josh Ho-Sang with the top unit. Eberle is signed through the 2018-19 season before becoming an unrestricted free agent.
For a player that has been in trade talks for a few years now, the deal actually has provided Eberle with a sense of comfort.
"A trade has been talked about for a while now," he said. "I'm relieved to have it over with. Now I'm looking for a fresh new start."
He'll get just that with a team that is slowly evolving back into a contender within the Metropolitan Division headlined by Tavares.
"John is a generational player," Eberle said. "He sees the game at a remarkable level and I'm looking forward to playing with him."
He has no doubt that he'll keep up with Tavares, too.
"There's always pressure here. The NHL is a tough league," Eberle said. "You have to be confident that you belong in a top-six role and I've proven that."
Amazingly, the Islanders did not have to part with any of their defensive trade assets including Calvin de Haan and Travis Hamonic, who have been garnering plenty of interest on the trade market.
That means the team is still in the running for the likes of Colorado Avalanche forward Matt Duchene.