On July 21, 2021, the NHL held an expansion draft for the newest member of the league, the Seattle Kraken. The New York Islanders decided to expose a few players, including forward Jordan Eberle, who was eventually taken.
The New York Islanders acquired Jordan Eberle for Ryan Strome before the start of the 2017-18 season and over his four years on the island, the former 22nd overall pick lit the lamp 76 times with 93 assists in 273 regular season games.
In those four years, Eberle helped the Islanders to the Stanley Cup Playoffs three times, recording 34 points in 49 playoff games.
His biggest moment donning the Islanders sweater was his double-overtime winner in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Finals back in 2020 against the Tampa Bay Lightning to force a Game 6.
— NBC Sports Hockey (@NBCSportsHockey) September 16, 2020
The Islanders would lose Game 6 and the series, and later that summer Eberle was gone.
That playoff run came in the Canadian bubble due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and plenty of bonding occurred while stuck inside their hotels.
In an interview with Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman for his and Jeff Marek’s ‘32 Thoughts‘ podcast, Eberle shared stories about his time with the Islanders, the group, and how he, Mathew Barzal, and Anders Lee wrote a song:
Eberle’s Relationship with Barzal
When Barzal was breaking into the league, he was a confident player. Someone on the New York Islanders had to keep him in check, and Eberle tried his best.
“He’s definitely one of my favorites. He came up as a young kid, and he definitely comes across as pretty confident. So he’s a fun guy to knock down sometimes, and I’m sure he threw it right back at me too, which is fun,” Eberle said.
“We had some good banter, but yeah, he’s definitely a guy that I’ve grown close with over the years, and a lot of it has to do with obviously playing together as linemates. We had some success making it to a couple of conference finals, and you grow close to guys, and when you do that, you become comfortable, and at a young age, he probably became a little too comfortable and got a little bit too high.”
“So sometimes you got to knock him down.”
As for how he knocked Barzal down or at least tried to:
“Honestly, I tried to use my words, my wittiness…whenever that comes, but he’s pretty good himself. So we had some good battles.”
Eberle and Friedman discussed a tweet Barzal made about Eberle’s tying goal against Russia at the 2009 World Juniors.
“Yeah, well, that was kind of my first, like you’re getting old moment in the NHL. It was his first year. I think it would have been my seventh year in the NHL […] and I saw it, and it basically said something like, ‘I still get goosebumps when I see that go in.’
“Oh my god, that guy’s my centerman now, and I’m playing [with him], you know what I mean?” Eberle said. “I had responded to it. And I still give him hack about it now because he thinks he’s pretty good.”
Thanks kid. Good luck out there https://t.co/SjRImcKgOA
— Jordan Eberle (@jeberle_7) January 15, 2018
Eberle’s Islanders Song
Eberle, a known guitarist, wrote a song with Barzal and Lee in his final season on the island. Here’s how that happened:
“So we were in Washington, and me, Barzal, and Lee were just hanging out in the room. We decided to write a song, so we wrote a song about the Islanders at the time,” Eberle said. “I think that season ended, and we ended up going into the bubble. And then I just showed it to the guys, and they all loved it, and we just went through each teammate, made it a thing.”
“I think the chorus is something along the lines of ‘We’re the boys of the Isles. We don’t play a pretty style. And it ain’t that much fun, but it gets the job done.’
Full 32 Thoughts Chat ➡️ https://t.co/RKIDEEaBlZ
— Sportsnet (@Sportsnet) January 7, 2023
Eberle Shared Islanders Mindset
Eberle shared that the New York Islanders group he was a part of was one of the closest groups he had ever played with. Over his tenure, they had gone from one of the best offensive teams but worse defensive teams in hockey to one of the best defensive teams that took advantage of their offensive chances.
Eberle credited general manager Lou Lamoriello and Barry Trotz, but also his teammates for buying in when those two came to the island in 2018.
“We all bought into the way we need to play. It’s cliche, but we checked our ego at the door,” Eberle said. “I mean, we didn’t really care about how many points we had. It was more about making wall plays, blocking shots, defending, and that’s honestly, in my opinion, one of the tightest-knit groups I’ve played with because we all just we’re on the same page, and that’s probably why we had success.”
“Ultimately didn’t get the job done. We came close two years (in a row), but […] Lou and Barry kind of put the foundation in place, but the players kind of grasped onto it and took it.”