Free Agent Profile: Jordan Eberle

Forward Jordan Eberle is an ex-teammate of Taylor Hall while in Edmonton. (Adam Hunger/AP)

Since the New Jersey Devils have a lot of cap space, many are predicting they will be active. One of the more prominent names being associated with the Devils is right wing, Jordan Eberle. Given the fact the Devils are in need of a top-six forward, he’s definitely worth examining.

The Statistics

The former roommate of Taylor Hall is actually coming off one of the worst seasons of his career. Thanks in large part to injuries, Eberle was only able to tally 37 points (19 G, 18 A) in 78 games. However, he still did generate a large number of shots and served a valuable role during the Islanders playoff run.

Eberle is nearing a dangerous territory in hockey, and that is age 30. It’s around that age when you start to see a decline, and with Eberle, it may be approaching a bit sooner. His Corsi for percentage (CF%) of 49.5 percent last season was his lowest in five years. His even strength goals above replacement (ev_GAR) also paints a picture of decline as after being at 9.9 the previous year, it was -3.4 this past season, which is not a good number. 

By no means is Eberle a bad forward. He is most likely going to be an above 50-point producer for the next few seasons. Not to mention his relative Corsi for percentage (Rel CF%) over the past three years is 5.5, which is stellar. The production is still there and will be for the next few years. The issue arises in the contract he is about to receive.

The Contract

The most interesting contract to monitor this offseason is Eberle’s. As mentioned, he is coming off a down year for his standards. However, being an established top-six presence is bound to ensure he will be paid. A current projection – via @EvolvingWild – is seven years with a cap hit of $6,051,826. The issue with what Eberle is about to receive is not the salary, as a deal in the high $5,000,000 to low $6,000,000 is fine. The issue is the length.

Surprisingly, given his history and age, a deal over five-years is likely. This would bring him to at least age 35 which is a very dangerous territory given the perception that Eberle is on the decline. And this is something definitely worth monitoring.

Conclusion

As has been stressed in most of our profiles is the Devils need to solidify their top-six. Adding an established scorer such as Jordan Eberle would do exactly that. Another added benefit to adding Eberle is his relationship with 2020 pending free agent Taylor Hall. Given the cap space, the Devils have the average salary would not be an issue. The issue, as mentioned above is the length. 

If general manager Ray Shero is able to work his magic and get Eberle to agree to a shorter term than rumored —say a four-year deal — by all means, the Devils should do what many are predicting and go out and sign him. However, do not be surprised if a six or seven-year deal is what gets Eberle. If this is the case, Shero must stay away.

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