In anticipation of the Seattle Kraken’s inaugural season, we at The Hockey Writers will be doing a deep dive into each player projected to be on the opening-night roster. This installment will focus on Jordan Eberle, who the Kraken selected from the New York Islanders.
2020-21 Team: New York Islanders
2020-21 Season: 55 GP, 16 G, 17 A, 33 P
Type of Acquisition: Expansion Draft
The Kraken made one of their most notable expansion draft selections by taking Eberle from the Islanders. He spent the last four seasons on Long Island after being acquired from the Edmonton Oilers, where he spent his first seven professional seasons. He will automatically become one of the faces of the new franchise and will be expected to produce immediately. He brings a good amount of playoff experience to the table and will be leaned on to lead the young core Seattle has built through the offseason.
Eberle has the highest cap hit of any Kraken forward, with three years remaining on his contract worth $5.5 million annually. In his career, he’s scored 50 points in five seasons and should be able to build on that in a big role with the Kraken. As a key member of Seattle’s core, the pressure is on the 2012 NHL All-Star to lead by example on a relatively inexperienced forward group.
Eberle was selected 22nd overall by the Oilers in 2008 and was a key part of their organizational rebuild until his trade to the Islanders in 2017 in exchange for Ryan Strome. His most productive seasons were with the Oilers, including in 2011-12 when he finished the 78-game campaign with 34 goals, 76 points, and an All-Star appearance. He also put up 65 and 63-point seasons in Edmonton. His best offensive season with the Islanders was 59 points in 2017-18.
He also had success on the international stage with Team Canada, including at the World Junior Championship in 2009 and 2010 when he won the gold and silver medal, respectively. He was named the Tournament MVP and Best Forward in 2010 after leading the tournament in goals. Eberle ranks second all-time with 26 points for Team Canada at the tournament and holds their longest point streak after scoring in all 12 career games.
Value to Seattle
Eberle gives the Kraken a legitimate top-notch scorer to build their offense around. Expect him to play first-line minutes and be an important part of the team’s success on the power play. He joins Seattle as a more complete player; playing in head coach Barry Trotz’s structured system has allowed Eberle to focus on his defensive play and eliminate high-quality chances against. His even-strength defense has improved in each of the last three seasons and should remain steady on a Kraken team that was constructed with defense in mind.
After his offense took a hit with the Islanders, Eberle has an opportunity to return to form with the Kraken. With the Oilers, he led the team in goals, primary assists, points, and time-on-ice with the man advantage. He also averaged over 4.5 power-play points per 60 minutes and could produce at a similar clip as the go-to option on Seattle’s top power-play unit.
With both New York and Edmonton, Eberle was a consistent goal-scorer and played with high-quality teammates. With the Kraken, he likely won’t have a linemate who’s as high profile as Mathew Barzal or Taylor Hall, but he could play with quality players like Jaden Schwartz, who is projected to join him on the top line. His improved defensive play combined with his goal-scoring and leadership qualities make him one of the team’s best selections from the expansion draft, regardless of his contract.
Covering the New York Islanders and Seattle Kraken for The Hockey Writers. MBA Sports & Entertainment Management Candidate at Hofstra University. Formerly Marketing Intern with the American Flag Football League & Operations Intern for the Long Island Nets, G-League Affiliate of the Brooklyn Nets.