Given the Seattle Kraken’s poor performance this season, there has been much talk about selling at the trade deadline. For the most part, that discussion has been in regard to pending unrestricted free agents who likely wouldn’t return next year anyway. However, Kraken general manager Ron Francis should take a hard look at trading some veterans with term on their contracts as well, assuming he can get good value for them. One such player is Jordan Eberle, a player who has been a key part of Seattle’s lineup this year, but could be an effective trade chip at the deadline.
Jordan Eberle as a Kraken
This season, Eberle has posted 14 goals and 16 assists in 50 games. At first glance, those numbers don’t seem like anything special, but they are among the best on a disappointing Kraken squad. Only Jared McCann has bested Eberle in terms of goals and points, while Eberle’s assist total is fourth on the team. Considering that he is playing for one of the worst teams in the league, his numbers are very solid.
Eberle also has a history of providing productive scoring. Throughout his lengthy career with the Kraken, New York Islanders, and Edmonton Oilers, he has managed six 20-goal seasons. He can generally be counted on for around a 20-goal, 50-point pace, and that has remained consistent in Seattle this year.
Eberle is in the third season of a five-year contract that he signed in 2019 with the Islanders. It has an average annual value of $5.5 million.
Why the Kraken Should Trade Him
Eberle has been very important to Seattle this year, so it’s fair to ask why they should have any interest in trading him. For starters, there should be very few, if any players on the Kraken that are untouchable. Ron Francis should prioritize stocking up on draft picks and other future assets, and loyalty to veterans can’t stand in the way of that.
On top of that, Eberle simply doesn’t make sense for the Kraken given his age and contract status. Seattle does not have a contending team this season, and by the time their prospects are ready to contribute, Eberle will have aged out of his effectiveness. In fact, at 31 years old, he is probably already on the decline. Whatever haul can be had in exchange for him will be of more value to Seattle than he will.
Of course, it is not necessary to trade Eberle now. Because of the two years remaining on his contract, Francis can afford to wait and see if a better offer for him comes along in the next few years. However, if a team steps up at the deadline with a great offer, there should be no hesitation to take it.
Ron Francis should use the recent Tyler Toffoli deal as a blueprint for an Eberle trade. Like Eberle, Toffoli is a quality top-six winger with two years remaining on his contract. He was traded just last week to the Calgary Flames in exchange for a first-round pick, a fifth-round pick, forward Tyler Pitlick, and forward prospect Emil Heineman.
That deal essentially boils down to a high pick, a decent prospect, and a short-term salary cap dump, which feels reasonable for a player of Eberle’s caliber. However, Francis can afford to be patient, and teams may get more desperate closer to the deadline. If Francis plays his cards right, Eberle could net an even better return.
While Eberle does not need to be traded, he is a player that tends to be in demand. Teams can never have enough secondary scoring, especially come playoff time. If the right offer comes along before the trade deadline, Ron Francis should take it.
Jake is a reliable source for the Seattle Kraken here at The Hockey Writers. Hailing from New York City, he is an avid fan of all things hockey and is always involved with the sport, whether that means writing, watching, or playing. An enthusiastic advocate for sports analytics, Jake will often weave them into his posts to support his ideas. More of his work can be found on his Substack page, and he is a contributor with @hky_tapetalk on Instagram. For any questions or inquiries, Jake can be contacted on his Twitter, @jakezrihen.