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Fantasy spin: Jordan Eberle, Ryan Strome get fresh starts with trade

Islanders acquire impact right wing for John Tavares' line; Oilers add speed to top six

by Pete Jensen @NHLJensen / NHL.com Senior Fantasy Editor

Forwards Jordan Eberle and Ryan Strome have seen their NHL careers follow a similar path; each was a first-round NHL Draft pick who had success early on but has since struggled.

But after the Edmonton Oilers traded Eberle to the New York Islanders for Strome on Thursday, each forward will have the opportunity to revitalize his career with a much-needed change of scenery.

Eberle, 27, finally gives the Islanders an impact right wing to play alongside elite center John Tavares. Eberle is a three-time 60-point producer who scored an NHL career high 76 points (34 goals, 42 assists) in 78 games in 2011-12.

 

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That said, Eberle had his worst regular-season points-per-game average this season (0.62) since he was a rookie in 2010-11, and had no goals and two assists in 13 Stanley Cup Playoff games. He played mostly on a line separate from Hart Trophy winner Connor McDavid, and his production dipped on the second line, playing mostly with Ryan Nugent-Hopkins.

Video: EDM@VAN: Eberle wires in a wrister to open scoring

From a fantasy standpoint though, Eberle has a chance to regain his scoring prowess if he can rekindle the well-documented chemistry with Tavares. The two combined for 28 points in six games for Team Canada during the 2009 IIHF World Junior Championship.

A likely spot on the Islanders first power-play unit could boost an offense that scored 2.91 goals per game (10th in NHL) despite being the third-worst power play in the League (14.9 percent). Eberle, despite averaging the fewest power-play minutes per game (2:14) of his NHL career, finished with 14 power-play points this season.

Eberle, ranked 176th in NHL.com's latest fantasy rankings, should be considered a fringe top-100 fantasy player after the trade because of his scoring track record and past success alongside Tavares. If the Islanders are able to acquire another top-six forward this offseason, Eberle could even be valued higher in drafts this fall. Either way, he could realistically finish in the 60-65 point range with an even higher ceiling.

As for Tavares, this could finally be the upgrade the 26-year-old needs to rejoin the top 15 overall fantasy rankings. Tavares played mostly with left wing Anders Lee and right wing Josh Bailey last season, scored 66 points (28 goals, 38 assists) in 77 games and finished 33rd overall in Yahoo standard fantasy leagues. Tavares' 0.86 points-per-game average was his lowest since 2010-11 (0.85).

Strome, 23, gives the Oilers some added speed in their top-six forward group. He scored 50 points (17 goals, 33 assists) in 2014-15, but has taken steps back with 28 points (eight goals, 20 assists) in 2015-16 (71 games) and 30 (13 goals, 17 assists) this season (69 games). He played on the Islanders first power-play unit for much of the season, but had eight PPP.

Video: NYI@DAL: Strome beats Niemi five-hole on breakaway

After a slow start this season, Strome's production improved after the Islanders replaced coach Jack Capuano with Doug Weight on Jan 17. Strome sustained a season-ending wrist injury in late March, but scored 16 points (seven goals, nine assists) in 30 games under Weight.

Strome joins a top-heavy Oilers forward group that includes McDavid (100 points) and breakout forward Leon Draisaitl (77 points), two top 30 overall fantasy players according to NHL.com. Draisaitl played primarily on McDavid's wing this season, but potentially could play more center next season on the second line in an effort to spread out Edmonton's scoring.

If Strome rebounds and plays right wing on one of the first two lines with either McDavid or Draisaitl, he could set a career high in points next season. But because of his boom-or-bust fantasy profile, he should be targeted much later than Eberle, in the 150-200 range.

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