The New York Islanders have been one of the biggest surprises in the NHL this season. After making the playoffs and winning a round for the first time in over two decades in 2015-16, the Islanders missed the playoffs by a single point in 2016-17. It was a bitter pill to swallow for a team whom many thought was on the way up… flash forward one season however and they’re right back in the thick of the playoff race. Hopefully it’s a path that the Edmonton Oilers can follow for 2018-19.
The Islanders sport a respectable 23-18-4 record mostly due to a dynamic offence that features superstar captain John Tavares, Matthew Barzal, Josh Bailey, Jordan Eberle Anders Lee and Mathew Beauvillier. Now, the Islanders have had some awful goaltending from both Jaroslav Halak and Thomas Greiss this season, but because the forwards are filling the net so often, they’re piling up the wins.
Now… do a quick rescan of the above mentioned players. Anything stick out, Oilers fans? Eberle, of course, he’s the obvious one…. but what you may not realize is that the entire Islanders 2nd line of Eberle, Barzal and Beauvillier were essentially gifted from Oilers GM Peter Chiarelli to the Islanders for… essentially Ryan Strome.
Cory Wilkins from The Score broke down all the moving parts after Oilers fans online pointed out the connections. Eberle, of course, was traded straight up for Strome in an offseason one-for-one trade. Eberle has 14 goals and 36 points in 45 games with the Islanders this season. He's on pace to hit his highest point total in three seasons after barely scratching 20 goals with the Oilers last season. Strike one.
Brazil was drafted 16th overall by the Islanders with the 1st round pick that Isles GM Garth Snow acquired from Chiarelli and the Oilers in exchange for defenceman Griffin Reinhart. Last we heard Reinhart is playing in the AHL for the Vegas Golden Knights affiliate. Meanwhile, Barzal has 16 goals and 47 points in 45 games for the Islanders as a 20-year old. This kid is a legitimate superstar in the making. Strike two.
Finally, Beauvillier, the forgotten one in all of this, was drafted by the Islanders in part because of the Reinhart trade, as well. Along with Reinhart and a 1st, the Islanders received a 2nd round pick, which Snow parlayed with his team’s own 3rd round pick to move up five spots in the draft to snag Beauvillier. The 20 year-old has eight goals in just 34 games. By comparison, Strome has just seven goals in 46 games. Strike three.
Any way you look at it, Eberle, Barzal and Beauvillier for Strome and 29 games of Reinhart is an AWFUL deal for the Oilers. We don’t need to rehash all of the ill advised moves Chiarelli has made with the Oilers the past few seasons, but… this one may end up being the absolute worst.
At what point does ownership have to take a look at the work done and being done by this management group and decide, “enough is enough?”