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Eberle Reaffirms Desire to Re-Sign with Kraken, Still No Traction on Extension Talks

Brian Fluharty-USA TODAY Sports

Amid a whirlwind of rumors regarding his immediate future as a soon-to-be unrestricted free agent, Jordan Eberle is single-minded in his desire to stay with the Kraken. Although the decision may not be his to make.

More than halfway finished with the final of his five-year, $5.5 million AAV deal– initially inked with the New York Islanders in 2019 and picked up by general manager Ron Francis in the expansion draft– Seattle’s postseason uncertainty puts Eberle in a vulnerable position as the trade deadline looms.

The league has noticed. According to the Fourth Period earlier this week, Eberle and teammate Alex Wennberg are “generating interest” among surefire contenders seeking to stockpile arms. Despite his uncharacteristically fruitless offensive campaign, Eberle’s sterling reputation has drawn the attention of the Edmonton Oilers, Toronto Maple Leafs, and Islanders, all of whom have been “linked” to the 33-year-old.

Means exist for a potential move. Representatives from across the league have made consistent appearances at Kraken home games this season but pro scouts from New York and Toronto are among the most frequent attendees. There’s motivation, too– a veteran boasting ample playoff experience, a credible scorer’s touch, and a battle-tested natural leadership make him an alluring upgrade for many teams’ middle six. Where there’s demand, there’s a solid return.

It should not go unmentioned, either, that the Stanley-Cup-less Eberle’s 34th birthday hastily approaches. Neither the Kraken nor Eberle are getting any younger waiting for a disappointing season to show signs of a drastic turnaround.

Trading Eberle makes sense. Each day the Kraken spend stagnant in the Western wild card race, failing to gain ground on their opponents in the standings, the likelihood of such a move increases. But at this point, there still could be interest in re-signing him.

On Eberle’s part, that interest has persisted since the preseason. When the subject of contract renewal was first broached in September, he gushed about his time in Seattle.

“We haven’t spoken much. I think Ron knows my stance [on re-signing],” Eberle told reporters. “My family and I, my wife and kids, we love it here. This is one of the more favorite places I’ve played. From day one the city has accepted this team and we’ve made it a home.” 

“I want to be a part of a winning group, and I think we have that here.”

Saturday morning Eberle provided the first update on extension talks since then, underscoring his desire to return is still alive and well despite a tumultuous first 54 games and alluding to the notion that negotiations haven’t progressed.

“I look at our record and grit my teeth,” Eberle confessed. “I feel like we should be a lot better. But at the same time, we’re in the mix.”

“I think my sole purpose right now and goal is to try and help this team get in. At this time of year we’re playing meaningful games and I think that’s important. We want to continue that. As far as contracts and stuff like that we haven’t really spoken. I’m sure, hopefully, we’ll get something done.”

Eberle told reporters during the preseason that he was not opposed to in-season contract talks, although those don’t seem to have occurred– not yet, anyways.

Sportsnet’s Elliote Friedman did suggest in his 32 Thoughts Podcast that the Kraken may still “take a run at trying to sign” Eberle.

Possibility of an extension hasn’t been completely ruled out; a lack of negotiation may not necessarily be an intentional, disinterested cold-shouldering considering Seattle tends to take their time with personnel maneuvers. During the inaugural season, Seattle didn’t begin trading until five days before the deadline, continuing to the day of. Vince Dunn wasn’t re-signed until three days prior to his arbitration hearing this past offseason.

Nineteen days remain until the March 8 trade deadline. The decisions Seattle makes regarding their upcoming class of free agents– including Eberle– will inevitably be influenced by whether the team feels they can pull off a last minute postseason run by the deadline. For now, Eberle’s future with the Kraken hangs in the balance.

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