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Islanders re-sign Eberle to five year contract

The New York Islanders made a surprise signing this morning, signing forward Jordan Eberle to a five year contract.  Eberle would have become an unrestricted free agent on July 1st.  The AAV of Eberle’s contract was $5M, with a full no trade clause for the first two years and a 16 team no trade clause years three to five.

The signing of Eberle comes as a bit of a surprise, as it looked like he would fetch far more per year if he hit free agency.  Although Lou Lamoriello and his staff keeps everything a secret, it seemed that Eberle was lowest on the totem pole of re-signings for the Islanders.  He and Brock Nelson, the two most likely to leave the Island, are now the two on the inside looking out.  Now that Eberle is re-signed, the focus shifts to Captain Anders Lee and UFA goaltender Robin Lehner.

The Islanders have a little more than $19M left in cap space for the 2019-20 season.  They still need to re-sign their captain, their starting goaltender, all their RFAs and improve the team.  If this is any indication, either Lehner or Lee will not be returning to the team.  There is no way that Lamoriello will let the Islanders’ captain leave twice in two years, so if they don’t have the space for Lehner he will be the odd man out.

It also looks like Lamoriello will try to improve the team via trade rather than free agency.  With Jeff Skinner already off the board and Bobrovsky and Panarin likely headed to South Florida, there are very few free agents that will be worth the price.  If Lamoriello can dangle Nick Leddy out there as a main trade piece, something can get done.  The NHL season has just ended, but the rebuild for next year has just begun for the Islanders.

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