Oilers trade Jordan Eberle to Islanders for Ryan Strome
Oilers trade Jordan Eberle to Islanders for Ryan Strome
23 June, 2017, 01:21
Another summer, another key Edmonton Oilers forward being shipped out of town in a one-for-one swap.
The Islanders are dead serious about keeping John Tavares right here in the heart of Downtown Brooklyn, or wherever else the franchise winds up playing following next season. But Thursday's deal gives Eberle the chance to start anew in NY.
Chiarelli talked up Eberle, 27, at his season-ending presser, writing off his playoff struggles (no goals, two assists) as a player trying to figure it out in the playoffs for the first time. The best-case scenario for the Islanders, however, would be for Eberle to replicate his sophomore season. Eberle played a career-low 16:46 per game, and still generated 2.54 shots per game, his most since 2012-2013. He's typically had solid possession numbers throughout his career, and did again last season.
With the Islanders, though, Eberle at least has an opportunity to bounce back in a big way because he should get a chance to play with John Tavares on the top line.
Eberle is entering the fifth year of a six-year contract worth US$36 million and had been a frequent subject of trade rumours.
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Strome, meanwhile, was selected fifth overall by the Islanders in 2011.
In that sense, regardless of what Strome produces in Edmonton, this looks to be a deal that can work for both sides. He said he liked Eberle's play in the tough areas and that Eberle, even in an off-year, still finished third on the team with 51 regular-season points.
In Edmonton, Strome could have some value.
With Connor McDavid, Leon Draisaitl and others making up the new core for the Oilers at forward, it's clear that the team is leaving the past in the past. Eberle was a first-round pick from the year before. The key number is the $2.5-million salary, though, for one more season. While he represents a cost savings on Eberle, he also ought to be very motivated to breathe life back into his career. His creativity with the puck could make him a major asset for the Islanders' power play. Edmonton will play each divisional opponent four times, with the exception of the Calgary Flames, who they will face five times. If Strome can't reasonably be expected to produce more, then the real value of the deal for Edmonton is that they save money. Both deals could exceed $6 million per season, and freeing up the additional cap space gives the Oilers almost $24 million to work with this summer. If the Oilers turn around and (as rumoured) sign Kris Russell, for example, to a long-term deal, it's not going to do a lot to justify the cost savings.
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