Over the course of his first year with the New York Islanders, Jordan Eberle came up big and filled a great role on the second line. Just how good was he?
Although he wasn’t on John Tavares’ wing for the whole year as originally anticipated, Eberle thrived with rookie sensation Matt Barzal. The two became a dynamic duo with their speed and playmaking skills complementing each other.
In addition, Eberle and Barzal helped struggling left winger Andrew Ladd to a strong start on the second line before he got injured. Anthony Beauvillier would replace him for the majority of the time and that second line became one of the most talented in the Metropolitan Division.
The 27-year old winger came to Brooklyn as a result of sending Ryan Strome back to Edmonton in a one-for-one swap. Immediately based on their 2016-17 season point totals, Eberle was a significant upgrade with a 21-point improvement. In the 2017-18 season, Eberle outscored Strome by a 25-point difference.
Eberle was a part of a powerplay unit that finished sixth in the league at 23.2 percent. The Islanders were the only non-playoff team with that high of a percentage. They even passed the offensive juggernauts of the league in the Washington Capitals, Vegas Golden Knights and Nashville Predators.
Eberle’s 5-on-5 play was some of the best of his career. The Saskatchewan native accumulated 49 even strength points with a split of 22 goals and 27 assists. In advanced statistics, he showcased the highest Corsi percentage of his career. When Eberle was on the ice, the Islanders were controlling the play 54.4 percent of the time. In a game where the style of play is mostly based on possession, the higher the Corsi, the more valuable the player is. In addition to these high marks, he also set a career high in game-winning goals with seven.
As good as the winger was, there is always something to improve on. For example, there were times where Eberle was nowhere to be found on the man advantage. Despite being a part of that successful powerplay, he went over a month and a half without a power-play point spanning from Dec. 19, 2017 to Feb. 9, 2018. Yes, this is nitpicking, but everyone is to blame for why the Islanders didn’t make the playoffs.
Final grade: B+
Although he wasn’t perfect, Eberle did a good job in his first year as an Islander. One thing he could’ve done more of is production on the powerplay. Of Eberle’s 59 points, only 10 were on the powerplay. With his offensive skill, Eberle should be converting on the man advantage almost every time he’s out there. 15-20 would be more of an expectation for a dynamic winger like him.