Well, there it is. Jordan Eberle, the final remaining member of H.O.P.E, is no longer an Edmonton Oiler. Eberle has been dealt to the New York Islanders for Ryan Strome.
Strome, a right-handed centre/winger, was drafted fifth overall by the Islanders back in Ryan Nugent-Hopkins draft of 2011. It took him quite some time to get going, spending two seasons in junior after being drafted, but after a 17 goal and 50 point season in 2014-15, Strome appeared to have found his footing in the NHL. But over the next two seasons, Strome struggled, scoring 28 points in 71 games in 2015-16 and 30 points in 69 games in 2016-17.
Eberle also fell out of favour in Edmonton recently. After cementing himself as a perennial 60-point player and elite scorer, Eberle’s production took a massive dip the last two seasons. His 47 points in 2015-16 was his lowest total since his rookie season, and he only managed 51 points in 2016-17 despite spending a lot of time on Connor McDavid’s wing.
A big reason for Eberle’s struggles this year in terms of production can be chalked up to poor puck luck, as his 9.6 shooting percentage is far and away the lowest of his professional career. That said, his poor showing in the playoffs, no goals and two assists over 13 games, ultimately seemed like the nail in the coffin for Eberle as an Oiler.
Strome can essentially fill in Eberle’s role as a right winger, but can also provide a little more versatility in the lineup as centre is his natural position. This is obviously a big cap savings for the Oilers who need to not only upgrade at a few positions, but also give Leon Draisaitl a raise as his entry-level contract expires on July 1.
Eberle is signed for two more years at $6 million, while Strome has a $2.5 million cap hit for one more season before hitting restricted free agency for the second time in his career. Strome also has three more years of team control before he’ll be able to hit the market as an unrestricted free agent.