Honestly, I thought he’d be the one to stay. Jordan Eberle can score goals and that has high value. Everything changed the moment Connor McDavid arrived and more than anything the salary cap forced this trade. We can argue about the timing (could have happened at any time over the next 12 months) but one of Ryan Nugent-Hopkins or Jordan Eberle (and maybe both) were heading out of Edmonton.
OILERS ALL-TIME GOAL SCORERS
- Wayne Gretzky (583)
- Jari Kurri (474)
- Glenn Anderson (417)
- Mark Messier (392)
- Ryan Smyth (296)
- Paul Coffey (209)
- Craig Simpson (185)
- Esa Tikkanen (178)
- Jordan Eberle (165)
- Shawn Horcoff (162)
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins is the current active leader in goals (95). Bob McKenzie had him No. 33 overall in 2008:
- Bob McKenzie: A somewhat under-sized centre, Eberle is considered one of the smartest offensive players in the draft. He is a better goal-scorer than a playmaker and is an elusive talent when he has the puck. There are some questions about his speed, but he does have quickness, especially in tight situations and one-on-ones.
I wrote about Eberle in August of 2009, using the question-answer format. He was a year away from becoming an NHL player and I think it stands up as a good description of what we were about to see.
- How did they get him? 1st rd pick in 2008, a selection that looks very good at this point in time. Although forwards taken right after him (Nemisz, Ennis) are progressing well Eberle had a solid junior season, became a national calibre hero at the WJ`s and then topped it off with a splendid AHL stint.
- What is his style? Offensive winger, shooter and a good puck handler and passer. Eberle lists Martin St. Louis as his favorite player because they play similar styles. That would be nice. I can`t find his WHL shots-on-goal totals which is maddening. Very smart, lightning hands. He could be an exceptional scorer. He scored 105 goals in 197 WHL games and that`s a good league, and he put up a point-per-game in a late season AHL audition.
- What are his negatives? Size and his foot speed isn`t blazing. On a team filled with trolls, this is a factor moving forward. Edmonton is going to need a trade for someone like Drew Stafford in the next year or so, but we`ve been saying that for three years now. Anyway, Eberle isn`t that guy, he`s another undersized skill winger.
- Why wasn’t he more dominant in junior? Well he did play well, but the team sucked wind after the new year. They were really terrible, and we can point the finger at Eberle a little but his splits weren’t awful or anything. In his first 30 games, Eberle went 20-19-39 +1 and in the final 31 games he went 15-20-35 -5. He led his team in goals and points. The one poor stretch was the final 20 games (he went 9-12-21) when his +/- was a horrendous -9.
- Was he really that good in Springfield? Jonathan Willis is doing some amazing stuff on his various sites and yesterday posted a timely item on the Falcons. It shows Eberle was facing subpar opposition so we need to view his performance in that light. However, it’s also true he was posting some good numbers in a pro league at age 18.
- Where does he fit on the depth chart? Way down. If we assume he’s a RW, then there’s one job to win: 2line right-winger. The depth chart (at a guess) is Hemsky, Nilsson, Pisani, Stortini, Ryan Stone (or Liam Reddox). Since he can’t play in the AHL there’s no need to list that bunch, so clearly Eberle needs to bump Nilsson (and the others who might end up being 2line RW) in order to make the big team.
- Is that possible? These are the Edmonton Oilers, anything is possible.
- Is it probable? No. The most likely plan (if the Oilers are indeed interested in getting to the post-season) is to add a veteran forward and to hold back the water on all forward prospects. The prudent move is to send Jordan Eberle back to the Queen City to score 50 goals and score more famous junior goals.
- What does the organization think of him? They love him. There’s an article every 10 minutes on oilers.com and that World Junior goal makes him pure Canadiana.
- How will we know if they’re seriously thinking about him as an NHL option? Kevin Lowe, Kevin Prendergast or Steve Tambellini will say something like “when Pat first asked about keeping him I thought he was joking, but with the way he’s performed in the last two pre-season games I don’t know that we can send him back!”
Sail on, Jordan Eberle. You waited so long for a playoff run and got just the one. We wish you the best in Brooklyn and will remember your skill and talent.