Eberle was on the block for the Oilers for the better part of a year. He’s owed $6 million for the next two seasons before going unrestricted in 2019. Edmonton wanted to get out from under that contract ahead of some big raises for Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl in the next two years. That’s understandable.
Rumors began flying prior to the NHL Awards that the New York Islanders were the likely destination for him. The Islanders didn’t protect Strome in the expansion draft, but cut a deal with the Vegas Golden Knights to ensure that he wasn’t selected. That made him available for this deal, and GM Garth Snow pulled the trigger on Thursday.
Strome makes $2.5 million this season before going restricted next summer. He’s four years younger than Eberle, but far less accomplished: 45 goals and 81 assists in 258 NHL games for the fifth overall pick in 2011. He played 69 games last season, scoring 13 goals.
Eberle is far more established: He played seven years for Edmonton, scoring 165 goals and 217 assists in 507 games. His production dropped last season along with his ice time – Eberle’s 0.62 points per game were his lowest average since his rookie season. But he’s an elite talent that might just need some new scenery.
This is the kind of move Snow should have been making in the last few seasons instead of, like, throwing money at Andrew Ladd.
As with any move for an offensive player the Islanders make, we immediately think about what this means for center John Tavares. Eberle could be a heck of a trigger man for him if they click offensively. They’re also, apparently, long time friends. So as the Islanders continue Mission: Keep JT Happy, this would seem like a positive step.
As for the Oilers, Strome is a nice return and they needed to free up the cash. But it’s probably hard to square that with the year of hype for a potential trade that created some delusions of grandeur about Eberle’s trade value.
At the very least, Oilers fans are probably wondering: How do you not pull a defenseman off that Islanders roster in an Eberle trade to Brooklyn?
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