Talking about contract extensions for a member of the Islanders may still be a sore subject, but on Tuesday Jordan Eberle told NHL.com that he has not discussed an extension with the team yet.
Eberle is entering the final year of a six-year, $36 million contract he signed in Edmonton in 2012.
“To be honest I haven’t had any conversations with anybody,” Eberle told NHL.com. “Going into the summer I was trying to focus on me and being the best I can be, and come into the camp the best I can be. Once that happens you start trying to fill a role and try to make this team as good as it can be.”
Eberle is coming off a bounce-back season with the Islanders in 2017-18, which saw him finish the year a point shy of 60 points. The 28-year-old forward’s 25 goals was the third most on the Islanders last season.
Eberle will want to perform well again this season if he hopes to ink a long-term deal with the Islanders or another team. And with the departure of John Tavares this offseason, Eberle will likely take a bigger role as the Islanders try to fill the void that the team’s former captain left.
“It’s obviously a loss for our team, but you’ve got to move on,” Eberle said about the loss of Tavares. “I think we’re kind of put in a category right now where we’re kind of the underdog role, and sometimes that’s good to be. You look at a team like maybe New Jersey last year, who had similar expectations coming in, and look how well they did.
“Sometimes you play better without that added pressure. We’ve got enough guys to fill depth here, and guys are going to fill in and we’ll be fine.”
Several players have bought into the underdog mentality this offseason, but if reports are to be believed general manager Lou Lamoriello could be looking for help.
The Islanders among the teams with strong interest in acquiring Colombus Blue Jackets forward Artemi Panarin, according to a report by The Fourth Period. Similarly to Eberle, Panarin is in the final year his contract but does not appear interested in re-signing with the Blue Jackets.
Lamoriello and the Isles have had their eye on Panarin for some time, according to the report, and had discussions with Columbus all the way back in June. The Islanders have also, reportedly, shown interest in Erik Karlsson and Bobby Ryan.