Jordan Eberle Traded to Islanders for Strome

The Edmonton Oilers have traded forward Jordan Eberle to the New York Islanders in exchange for Ryan Strome, the Oilers announced Thursday following the lifting of the trade freeze. Strome is 23 years old and has scored 45 and 126 points in 258 career NHL games with the Islanders. The fifth-overall draft pick from 2011 hasn’t yet panned out to be what many thought he could, but he’s still very young and has the potential to break out with a change of scenery in Edmonton.

In Eberle, the Islanders are getting a player who was originally drafted by the Oilers with the 22nd overall pick in the 2008 NHL Entry Draft, Eberle has been a mainstay in the Oilers’ lineup since the 2010-11 season. Scoring 18 goals and 43 points in 69 games as a rookie, things looked promising for Eberle from the get-go.

His sophomore season, however, was when he really broke out as a professional hockey player — scoring 34 goals and 76 points in 78 games, Eberle established himself as a legitimate top-line right winger. Scoring at least 20 goals in every season since his rookie year, with the exception of his 16 goals in 48 games in the lockout-shortened 2012-13 season, Eberle will be a big help to the Islanders’ offensive gameplan.

Jordan Eberle
Edmonton’s Jordan Eberle. Photo: Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers

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. Already moving on from Taylor Hall and Nail Yakupov in the past, Eberle is just the latest move over the Oilers’ in the last few years to try and solidify their present roster while competing for a Stanley Cup.

Returning to the postseason last year for the first time since their Stanley Cup Final loss to the Carolina Hurricanes in 2006, the Oilers’ are now looking to catapult their franchise back into the limelight by regaining their championship form. With a legitimate top-six player to skate alongside captain John Tavares, the Islanders are already starting to be as aggressive as many pegged them to be in the early goings of the offseason

Cap Dump for the Oilers

John Tavares (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

On the surface, the deal feels lopsided in favor of the Islanders who have been looking to help Tavares for quite some time. The deal may not be based simply on the talent of the two players that were swapped, however. While Strome only scored 13 goals and 30 points last season, he is only two seasons removed from scoring 17 goals and 50 points in 81 games.

With the Oilers looking to save cap space for extensions to their young players, including both McDavid and Draisaitl — the latter needing a new contract for the 2017-18 season — it would appear the Oilers were simply looking to dump some salary while getting a serviceable, young player with high upside. Strome fits that bill as he has tremendous offensive ability and could flourish in a system like Edmonton’s that thrived last season on exciting offense led by McDavid, Draisaitl and others.