Jordan Eberle first met John Tavares in 2009 when they represented Canada at the World Junior Ice Hockey Championship in Ottawa. At the time, Tavares was expected to be the top pick in that year’s draft by the New York Islanders, and Eberle was an Edmonton Oilers first-round selection in 2008.
Eight years later, they share the ice once again.
“John is a generational player and a guy who thinks the game at a very high level, and he’s obviously the leader of this team,” Eberle told NHL.com in June after learning he would team with Tavares on the Isles.
Eberle came to Brooklyn from Edmonton via trade after a disappointing season in which he posted a career-low 9.6 shooting percentage, nearly four percentage points below his career mark. The 27-year-old, who has tallied 50 or more points four times, hopes to rekindle the magic from that week in Ottawa when he and Tavares combined for 14 goals and 28 points for Team Canada.
The pairing, along with Anders Lee (34 goals in 2016-17), give the Isles a first line with three distinct roles filled. Tavares is the all-around playmaker, Eberle the pure goal scorer and Lee the 6-3 bruiser. The trio could make for one of the most fearsome forward lines in the East.
“I’m so excited for Jordan to come in,” Islanders head coach Doug Weight told NHL.com in June. “He’s got that skill, and we’re going to push him and support him and put him in a spot to succeed. Hopefully he pays huge dividends.”