The Seattle Kraken are moving towards Christmas and looking to enjoy a playoff position along with their Christmas dinner. In the spirit of giving, I think it’s time to give Jordan Eberle some appreciation for what he’s contributed to the team’s success so far this season.
Admittedly, when the Kraken took him from the New York Islanders in the expansion draft, I wasn’t a big fan of the selection. I saw him as an aging player whose numbers had dropped off from their peak, and I thought that the Kraken needed to go young. Now having played over 100 games in a Kraken sweater, I can confidently say I’ve been proven wrong.
Related: 2021-22 Kraken Report Cards: Eberle, Sheahan, Wennberg
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This article is going to look at exactly why I was wrong; examining his statistics so far this season and projecting his pace for the remainder. I’m also going to look into the future and try and get a feel for what will be next for him and the Kraken once his contract expires. Let’s dig in.
Eberle on Pace for Best Season Since 2011-12
Truth be told; when Eberle finished the Kraken’s inaugural year tied for second in goals and third on the team in scoring, I didn’t really take it seriously. The team struggled mightily at both ends of the ice, and he had to be the sniper that he was when he scored at least 20 goals in five straight seasons from 2013-2018. Through 28 games this season, he’s showing me that he can still consistently produce despite being 32 years old.
|Jordan Eberle||2021-22 Season||2022-23 Season||82-Game Pace|
While Eberle’s goalscoring is on pace to be around where he finished last season, it’s an enormously positive sign that he’s set to hit the 20-goal mark again. Prior to the Kraken’s inaugural season, he went three straight seasons scoring less than 20 goals. He currently sits fifth on the team in goals, and that exemplifies the team’s increased ability to score goals. It also explains why his assists are way up from this time last season when he had nine through 28 games.
Eberle has played 316:03 with Matty Beniers at all strengths, and 217:39 with Jared McCann so far this season. For context, those two rank first and third, respectively, among teammates he has played with this season, with Martin Jones falling in between the pair. It’s a very promising sign that at his age, in a league that’s getting younger and younger, he’s playing at the top of his game while lined up with the Kraken’s rising star and their leading goalscorer.
Kraken Have Options with Eberle Once Contract Expires
The Kraken will have an interesting situation on their hands ahead of the 2024-25 season; when Eberle’s current contract is set to expire. As things sit, he has a 16-team no-trade clause in his contract, so there’s a very good chance that he’ll be remaining a Kraken until the end of this contract, or even longer if it’s extended. That’s a good thing, as even if his numbers drop off or fail to meet projections, he will still provide a lot of value and veteran leadership to the team.
Due to the amount of draft picks they’ve accumulated over their first few seasons, the Kraken will have a plethora of prospects who could be ready to make the jump by the time the 2024-25 season comes around.
Wingers like Jagger Firkus, Ville Petman, and Jacob Melanson could be joining their ranks; that’s not to mention any potential free agent signings. It’s hard to predict the future, but Eberle will be 35 years old by the time his contract expires, and if his play drops off, the Kraken are going to have some potentially difficult decisions to make.
Related: Seattle Kraken Prospect Report: Wright, Petman, Firkus & More
I think that if Eberle’s play is still positively contributing to the team, and I’m not just talking about his point production, then he could receive an extension. By that point, he would be one of the longest-tenured Kraken, and an original cast member as well. However, by that point, it could make a lot of sense to see him have a reduced role, which is something that he’d need to be open to.
Eberle Is a Key Cog in Kraken Success
While it is responsible to look at the bigger picture and try and plan for the future, the Kraken are in a good place right now, and a big part of that is Eberle’s play. If he can keep producing at this rate, it’ll take a lot of pressure off of the Kraken’s secondary scorers as the season continues.
Eberle wears an “A” as an alternate captain for a reason, and if the Kraken can continue this run, he’ll be one of the major reasons the team will get their first taste of playoff hockey.