One of the biggest trades of the 2017 offseason came just after the expansion draft. On June 22nd, 2017, the Edmonton Oilers sent 27-year-old right wing Jordan Eberle to the New York Islanders in exchange for 24-year-old center Ryan Strome. This is obviously a very uneven trade, for many reasons.
What We’ve Seen So Far
First, Strome has only played three full NHL seasons, which is four less than Eberle. He is also three years younger. Eberle, drafted 22nd overall in 2008, has been considered one of the best players in the league by most. He was part of a very talented group of Oilers forwards from a few seasons back, including New Jersey Devil Taylor Hall and a new member of the Colorado Avalanche in Nail Yakupov. In his rookie year, Eberle played 69 games, notching a total of 43 points (18 goals and 25 assists). Since then, he has played six more seasons with Edmonton (2017-2018 will be his seventh overall and first with the Islanders). He has averaged about 57 points per season from 2011-2012 to 2016-2017, with his lowest being 37 (16 goals and 21 assists in 48 games in 2012-2013) and highest being 76 (34 goals and 42 assists in 78 games in 2011-2012). As shown by his numbers and his general play, Eberle is one of the best players in the NHL. The most common complaint is that he isn’t consistent or doesn’t put in enough effort 100% of the time. However, if his point totals are still this high, he must be doing something right.
Ryan Strome, on the other hand, had been a constant scapegoat for the Islanders and their fans, even when it wasn’t necessarily his fault. He first broke onto the scene in the 2013-2014 season, playing 37 games and earning 18 points (7 goals and 11 assists). He had a phenomenal rookie campaign, playing 81 games and recording 50 points (17 goals and 33 assists). Since then, things just haven’t been able to click for Strome. He had 28 points (8 goals and 20 assists in 71 games) in 2015-2016 and 30 points (13 goals and 17 assists) in 2016-2017. While these numbers aren’t horrible, most people just expect more from a 5th overall draft pick (2011).
What Does This Mean For The Future?
So far, Strome has five points in 13 games, on pace for about 32 points, which seems right for him. Eberle is estimated to have about 57 points, which also seems right for him. While Eberle is an upgrade for the Islanders and Strome is a bit of a downgrade for the Oilers, this should’ve been expected the minute the trade was finalized. This trade was never about Edmonton acquiring a superstar anyway. They simply needed cap room for the “McDraisaitl” (star forwards Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl) contracts. It worked out for both sides since the Islanders needed a competent winger for superstar John Tavares, something they’ve been searching for for a while.
The Oilers were pretty much looking to drop Eberle if they needed to drop someone for the sake of the cap, and it was obvious that Strome hadn’t worked out for New York, partly because of the player and also because of his troubles with former head coach, Jack Capuano. The Oilers saw Strome as a solid enough two-way forward that had enough experience to hold down the fort and not make mistakes but could still develop. The change of scenery certainly hasn’t impacted him negatively, and he seems to love playing there so far. The Islanders saw Eberle as someone to hold up the other end of the John Tavares bargain, which, when the two players are on the ice together, he has done a fine job of thus far.
Why We Shouldn’t Be Blaming Ryan Strome
So why does it feel like the entire city of Edmonton is against Ryan Strome? They shouldn’t be. Ryan Strome just isn’t Jordan Eberle. Additionally, it goes both ways; Jordan Eberle just isn’t Ryan Strome. Oilers fans took Eberle for granted, and are now holding their new member to the same standard they would hold their former player. The best option for this fanbase is to realize that Strome simply isn’t as skilled as Eberle is, and they should take him for what he is: a young-enough player with room to grow that can play a somewhat solid 60 minutes. So stop blaming Strome for things he can’t control. And, in turn, stop praising Eberle for things he can’t control either. Instead, Oilers Nation, direct your anger at the front office for making this horrendously uneven trade and try to make the best of the situation.
New Edmonton Oiler Ryan Strome will play against Jordan Eberle and the New York Islanders this evening at 7:00 ET. I will be in attendance and will be doing my best to keep it together, though I have a feeling the room will have a little dust in the air…
What do you think about this trade? Will you be tuning in to watch these teams face off on Tuesday? Let us know by tweeting us: @PuckItUpBlog.
Want to read more about this trade, or trades in general? Click here.