Thursday, June 22, 2017

Eberle to Long Island for Strome

2017 Season 2017 July 1st Status
To Long Island Pos Age GP Goals Points Cap Years Cap
Jordan Eberle F 27 82 20 51 $6m 2 $6m
To Edmonton Pos Age GP Goals Points Cap Years Cap
Ryan Strome F 23 69 13 30 $2.5m 1 $2.5m

The Edmonton Oilers finally pulled the trigger, dealing one of their hefty $6 million cap hits on Thursday, dealing Jordan Eberle to the New York Islanders for slumping forward Ryan Strome.

The Islanders have been struggling to keep their number one player, John Tavares, happy in recent years, as they have struggled to find him the right talent to compliment his own skill set.  This is certainly what the hope is in Eberle, trying to find that right trigger man for their central figure and then try to convince him to sign a long-term contract extension in the process.

Both Tavares and Eberle are heroes for Canada at the World Juniors in years past and it's that kind of magic that the Islanders are looking to rekindle, leading them to a spot in the playoffs.  In order to do that, the Islanders dealt yet another World Junior hero in Strome, which makes this a pretty nostalgic deal all the way around.

There's no shortage of potential in this move for Eberle, but as we've seen in his years with the Oilers, he hasn't quite been the $6 million man, production-wise, that Edmonton would have hoped for, but maybe a combination with Tavares is exactly what he needs.

It's been two straight disappointing seasons for Strome on Long Island, so it was certainly time for a change of scenery for the scoring winger.  The Oilers are not short on forward scoring as it is, so the addition of a winger that needs a shot in the arm for his career.  Having found himself as a healthy scratch a few times in the 2017 season and then breaking his wrist at the end of the year, you could understand if he was in need of this move.

The possibilities are somewhat exciting for Strome, as the talent down the middle of the Edmonton lineup is generational, with either Connor McDavid or Leon Draisaitl as potential pivots, how could a winger not put up some decent numbers, one might ask.

A return to Strome's 2015 numbers, 17 goals and 50 assists in 81 games would certainly be a straight-up replacement for Eberle's numbers in the 2017 season and at a fraction of the cost.

By all accounts, this is a move that could be beneficial to both players and thus, our hockey poolies may have some more reason to get excited for these two guys.  Last season, Eberle was drafted in the 3rd round by Tony, while Strome was taken way down in the 12th round by Brenda & Seward, who may be the leading contender to take him again for the 2018 season.

Salary CapThe Oilers were already starting to feel a bit of the salary cap pinch or they were at least conscious of its impending doom in the next year or so.  Since this is a straight-up deal, no retaining of cap space, the Oilers open up $3.5 million in cap room for the current season, which they will certainly employ in re-signing Draisaitl this off-season.  McDavid is also negotiating a new contract extension, which would start in the 2019 season, so the Oilers were wise to open up more space for that deal to get done.

The Islanders, on the other hand, are trying to win now and convince their existing group that they can do it.  Their preliminary numbers are showing that they have $3.7 million left in cap space with a full 23-man roster and they may not be done in this off-season.

This deal is not short on potential... I think I've said that before already in this post.  There are plenty of positives here and that could be reflected at the hockey pool draft.  The combination of Tavares/Eberle has some real value to it on paper and it will be interesting to see where Strome slots into the Edmonton lineup.  I am certainly leaning on boosting everyone's projected scoring numbers after this move, just out of the pure excitement of the deal itself.  We'll see if that calms down by the end of the summer.

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