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Tampa Bay Lightning Trade Deadline: Target Kraken Forward?

Tampa Bay Lightning Trade Deadline

The Tampa Bay Lightning trade deadline will be interesting to watch this season. Over the last several seasons, they’ve been active with deals. It started with Blake Coleman and Barclay Goodrow. More recently, it has been Tanner Jeannot and Michael Eyssimont. This season, there is a question of what the Lightning should do; buy or sell? Here at Last Word, Kyle Pereira and Jack Pallotta will start a series where they look at some potential trades. Let’s say they buy, who do they get? What do they give up? Today, we look at forward Jordan Eberle of the Seattle Kraken.

Disclaimer: The players featured in these articles aren’t always linked to the Lightning but have been made available in some capacity this season. These pieces are observing whether Tampa should target them and what the cost would be if they did. 

Tampa Bay Lightning Trade Deadline: Jordan Eberle

One of several Edmonton Oilers first-round draft picks from the late 2000s and early 2010s, Jordan Eberle found a different franchise to call home in 2017. Eberle spent four seasons with the New York Islanders, appearing in back-to-back Eastern Conference Finals. However, the Islanders were slammed against the salary cap, and with the Kraken entering the league for the 2021-22 season, Eberle was the odd man out. Seattle selected Eberle as one of their draft choices in the expansion draft. 

Eberle is in his third season with the club, helping the Kraken clinch their first playoff birth in team history last season. However, the Kraken have performed under expectations this season. With one year remaining on his contract at $5.5 million per season, Eberle is a potential trade candidate around the league. Eberle’s name popped up in trade rumours over the past few weeks, but the Lightning are not linked to the veteran forward. However, could Eberle be the missing piece Tampa Bay needs entering the playoff race?

Eberle Scouting Report

Nothing stands out more in Eberle’s game than his hockey sense. The 33-year-old is exceptionally intelligent and uses his smarts to contribute in both the offensive and defensive ends of the ice. The veteran forward isn’t afraid to crash the net and score goals in the dirty areas. Eberle also possesses one of the best backhand shots the league has to offer. All these attributes allow Eberle to be a reliable top-six winger and a playoff warrior. 

Closing in on the 1,000-game plateau, Eberle has 296 goals and 397 assists for 693 points in 995 career games. His most productive season came back in 2011-12, where Eberle potted 34 goals and 42 assists for 76 points in 78 games with the Oilers. Moreover, Eberle has reached the 60-point mark four times in his career. This season with Seattle, Eberle has 14 goals and 21 assists for 35 points in 55 games. The winger is on pace for roughly 50 points in 76 games in 2024. With that, why would Tampa Bay find interest in this veteran forward from the Kraken?

Eberle’s Strengths

Typically deployed on the top line alongside Matthew Beniers and Jared McCann, Eberle rounds out the trio with his two-way game and smarts. Eberle is a jack-of-all-trades-esque player. He can play with any linemate or in any system and find success. The winger can generate scoring chances via the rush or the cycle, play on the top line or in the middle-six, and more. In addition, Eberle is a dual threat in passing and shot statistics.

Microstats data from All Three Zones has Eberle in the 99th percentile of center lane passes per 60 amongst forwards this season. Essentially, Eberle is moving the puck from the middle of the ice to the perimeter to create scoring opportunities for the Kraken. This data explains why Eberle ranks first in goals for per hour (3.22 GF/60) and second in expected goals for per hour (2.87 xGF/60) for the Kraken this year. The 33-year-old is also finding his linemates in high-danger areas. Eberle ranks in the 92nd percentile of high-danger passes per hour in 2024. Now, what are the potential risks of trading for Eberle?

Eberle’s Weaknesses

The Canadian forward does not have any weaknesses in his game. Eberle is system-proof and adjusts his game to the role his coach proposes. One downside is Eberle isn’t involved in special teams. However, the Lightning have an elite power play and a solid penalty kill. While his speed and agility will continue to regress with age, his intelligence makes up for it, similar to Joe Pavelski. The true weakness of Eberle for the Lightning revolves around the context of a potential trade. Eberle will be 34 next season and is on an expiring contract. Let’s say the Lightning do target Eberle. What would a potential trade look like?

What It Would (Likely) Take To Acquire Eberle

The Lightning are flexible to trade with an extra $8.5 million in cap space. However, after a weak month of February, does it make sense to be buyers at the deadline again? What would a solid top-six winger like Eberle cost? A comparable trade arises from the 2023 NHL Trade Deadline. The New York Rangers acquired Patrick Kane in exchange for roughly a conditional second-round pick in 2023 and a fourth-round pick in 2025. With that, below is the framework for a potential trade.

Tampa Bay acquires: Jordan Eberle (F)

Seattle acquires: 2025 second-round pick, Alex Barré-Boulet (F)

How Both Sides Benefit From the Trade

Don’t expect Tampa Bay to make any noise in the home stretch of the regular season without adding scoring help at the trade deadline. Eberle can come in and potentially fill a second-line right-wing role. The Lightning add much-needed offensive support for a reasonable price tag in this case. For the Kraken, Eberle is not part of the plans down the road. Seattle receives assets for an expiring contract and will look to reset their roster for next season in hopes of returning to the playoffs. In addition, Alex Barré-Boulet is dealt with an environment he is familiar with in Seattle.

Tampa Bay Lightning Trade Deadline: In Or Out On Eberle

Eberle is one of the few trade targets we have covered over the past few weeks that make sense for the Lightning. He is similar to Reilly Smith, who we covered in another article. The veteran winger plays a balanced game, providing the scoring touch the Lightning desperately needs. Despite Eberle likely hitting the free agent market in July or remaining with the Kraken, surrendering a second-round pick is a reasonable price for his age and services. The Lightning should not offer more for a pure rental, they don’t have the assets to forfeit for superstars at the deadline.

To conclude, we are in on Jordan Eberle for the proper price tag at the trade deadline. He makes a lot of sense for the roster and will address glaring weaknesses. However, the Kraken want to get an extension done with Eberle. Even if they don’t, Tampa Bay is not a top contender for his services. Acquiring Eberle is a long shot, but if the Lightning could pull a deal off, we would not be disappointed.

Advanced percentiles via AllThreeZones and HockeyViz (paid subscription required)

Raw stats via NaturalStatTrick & EvolvingHockey

Lightning tracked stats via Last Word (Kyle Pereira and Jack Pallotta)

Main Photo Credit: Kim Klement Neitzel-USA TODAY Sports


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