This moment will be remembered forever by Oiler Nation. Jordan Eberle scoring the goal of the year in game one, a sign of things to come for an organization and fanbase that badly needed heroes and moments of glory.
It was followed by 81 miles of bad road, but that one night–no, that one moment–breathed life into the promise of a brand new day.
If you think that’s a lot to put on this young man’s shoulders, you ain’t seen nothing yet.
NHL prediction for 11-12: 82, 22-30-52 (.634)
- Finally a 20 goal scorer. Eberle scored 18 a year ago, predicting 22 in a full season isn’t earth shattering.
- However, you are not projecting the Oilers to have many 20 goal men. No, just three.
- What is his future? I think he’s going to be the guy who emerges as a leader on this team. He’s a little older than Hall and RNH, maybe just old enough to influence the group. The thing about a guy like Eberle is that he was so famous before he arrived in the NHL; that may mean that his leadership skills are established for the younger set. It’s a guess, but I think he’s going to be the spokesman for the group in a lot of areas.
- You think Eberle is going to get a lot of PP time? Actually, I have two RW’s (Hemsky, Omark) getting more actual minutes than Eberle 5×4. He’s going to play in all situations, though. His anticipation should be a real plus on special teams.
- So he’s doing all this projected scoring at evens? Well, I do have Eberle getting some PP time but he’s also going to be on Hall’s line for most of the season. That duo (Hall-Eberle) should be able to do some impressive things this season no matter who plays center.
- They’ll face tough competition. According to Desjardins, Hall-Eberle faced tough opposition as rookies. I really do think Hall-Eberle are special players. Not Crosby special, but quality young players with their futures straight ahead.
- Do you think they’ll face the toughs again? Maybe. Renney didn’t really do much to protect them a year ago, but part of the reason was he didn’t have the horses. This fall, Renney could protect a Hall-Eberle line by running Horcoff or Belanger with Smyth and Hemsky.
- Is that what Renney will do this season? I think he may from time to time. However, it seems to me the Oilers have lusted (for years now) for three scoring lines. They may be able to cobble together a motley crew based on the group coming to training camp in the fall.
- And the keys are Hall, Eberle and Hemsky? I’d add Omark. The fact that Omark exists on this roster means that Edmonton has enough torque to ice three (potentially) impressive lines. And let’s not forget Ryan Smyth, he’s going to be a vital part of this team in 11-12.
- What are the lines? Don’t know. The “duo’s” are likely to be the wingers: Hall/Eberle, Paajarvi/Omark and Smyth/Hemsky. Then you have four centers (Gagner, RNH, Horcoff and Belanger) and I better list Ryan Jones here to avoid the riot.
- But Eberle and Hall are together for sure? I’d think so. Last season they played well together, Eberle fell off after the Hall injury. Before the injury to Hall on March 3, Eberle was 52gp, 15-20-35 (.673) -5. After that, he played 16 games and went 3-5-8 (.500) -7. The Oilers after the Hall/Hemsky/Penner crash were basically drifting, I’m not certain that we can complain about the point total or the plus minus.
- Is Hall the better prospect? Yes.
- What’s the gap? Don’t know. We need to see more of both players. Hall is dynamic and more of a take charge player, he’s going to force the issue most times. Eberle has fewer gears but uses his smarts to make plays and allows things to unfold before making his move. That beauty goal opening night featured plenty of patience and reading what was in front of him.
- What is Eberle good at? All kinds of things. He’s really quick around the net, gets shots off in the blink of an eye. Some might call his goals flukey but they all count and he’s usually making a play that is creative so credit where due. I’ll say this about all of the gifted kids up front, but he strikes me as center material. Smart, savvy player who can pass the puck and think the game well.
- What is his future? I think he’d make an excellent center for Taylor Hall.
- Is he the most complete player of the three gifted rookies? Tom Renney appeared to think so, but then again Eberle was older than Hall and Paajarvi and Omark started in the minors (which remains a batshit crazy decision). Renney used Eberle at EV (14:27); PP (2:32) and PK (0:40) almost 18 minutes a night. Eberle played the 4th most minutes a night among all NHL rookies this season. We can’t get ahead of ourselves, though. There’s plenty of unwritten script.
- Maybe he’ll play with RNH. You know, it’s not a bad idea. A line of RNH, Smyth and Eberle might do some interesting things.
- What is his future? I believe he’ll be captain one day.