Jordan Eberle
AP Photo

Of the New York Islanders’ free agents, it looked like it was going to be difficult to keep Jordan Eberle, but they managed to find a way.

Matt Di Giacomo

Jordan Eberle proved that not only is Long Island a great place to live, but a premiere destination to play as well. He will remain with the New York Islanders for the next five years per Islanders PR. The deal is worth $5.5 million AAV according to Pierre LeBrun of TSN.

The Stanley Cup was freshly awarded to the St. Louis Blues and barely 24 hours later, the Isles were already working towards next season. This move can help the Isles counteract the high prices on the 2019 free agency market.

One week ago, Jeff Skinner decided to stay in Buffalo for the next eight seasons at $9 million, helping set an expensive bar for the 2019 free agency class. Eberle’s discount helps counteract that precedent and make negotiations better for the Islanders in the summer.

A full no trade clause (NTC) is in effect for the first two years of his contract (including a $2 million signing bonus) and a modified NTC kicks in for the remainder of the contract.

This is a home run for the Islanders, who outside of Cal Clutterbuck (and perhaps Josh Ho-Sang?) possess no NHL-ready right-handed forwards. New York would have lost a lot of strength offensively if Eberle decided to walk.

The one area of concern now lies with both Anders Lee and Robin Lehner as the two remaining free agents.

Contract negotiations with Lee are stunted, and the assumption continues to be that there is no agreement on term as Lee seeks a seven- or eight-year deal.

There are no available updates on Robin Lehner, who the Islanders would ideally want back for five years at most. Ilya Sorokin’s KHL contract expires at the end of next season, and he could finally be ready to come stateside.

With the way the free agency market is shaping up, the Islanders seem to be doing everything they can to keep their players on the Island. Replacement options don’t seem to be there, and keeping Eberle is a more than welcome surprise.

Two down, two to go.

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