#2 Prospect Winter 2008: Jordan Eberle

Current Rank: #2
Summer 2008 Rank: #2

Jordan Eberle is the #2 prospect in the Oilers organization because his one dominant skill is as precious as gold.

Scoring goals.

Let’s start at the beginning, which for our purposes was leading up to Eberle’s draft day summer 2008. Bob McKenzie in his TSN Top 30 (which is now the industry standard) told us he was “a somewhat under-sized centre and 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’ve also read he can mail it in from time to time but the skills are there and if you’re an Oiler fan the idea of an actual sniper on the horizon is just what the doctor ordered.

A year ago in the WHL, Eberle popped 42 goals in 70 GP in a league that averaged 5.72 goals-per-game. As a comparison, the OHL (6.89) and the QMJHL (6.84) averaged a goal per game more, meaning Eberle’s 42 goals would have been north of 50 in the OHL given the same conditions.

After being drafted by the Oilers he came to camp and impressed with his puck skills. Not Sam Gagner impressive, but enough for the fanbase to buzz and that’s about all an NHL team can hope for in their top pick (unless it’s a lottery pick) in the months after the draft. It’s better than having the kid come in and fall flat and that’s happened a few times over the years.

This fall, Eberle has been streaky (29gp, 19-17-36) but has increased his points-per-game total season over season (1.07 a year ago, tracking at 1.24 this season) in a league that is even more defensive (4.78 goals per game) in 08-09.

Michael Remmerde is a scout and Contributing Editor for Red Line Report. Remmerde says of Eberle that there is good (“great sniper’s touch. Knows how to find scoring chances. Quick hands. Will take a hit to make a play”) and some things that are a concern (“casual player – effort level is never there. Tends to stick to the perimeter”).

Eberle’s size (mentioned in the McKenzie item above) and foot speed are going to be issues, but with those scoring skills he’s going to get every chance to find the range in the show when he’s ready. Eberle was impressive in the recent ADT Challenge this past week and there are conflicting reports about the potential for him to be named to the Canadian team for the WJC’s at Christmastime. Jim Matheson in the Edmonton Journal suggested it was a long shot but most other comments I’ve read have Eberle solidly in the mix.

Either way, if he stays healthy and doesn’t miss too much time (World Junior, etc) there’s a distinct possibility Eberle could top 50 goals in junior at age 18. Here’s a list of some of the Oilers draft picks and their goal totals as 18 year olds in junior:

  1. Ralph Intranuovo (50)
  2. Jason Arnott (41)
  3. Ryan Smyth (41)
  4. Rob Schremp (41)
  5. Jarret Stoll (40)
  6. Michael Henrich (38)
  7. Liam Reddox (36)
  8. Tyler Wright (36)
  9. Jason Chimera (34)
  10. Kirk Maltby (34)
  11. Peter Sarno (33)
  12. Kyle Brodziak (32)
  13. Steve Kelly (31)
  14. Matthew Lombardi (28)
  15. Slava Trukhno (28)
  16. Boyd Devereaux (28)
  17. Ales Hemsky (27)
  18. Jason Bonsignore (27)
  19. Marc Pouliot (25)
  20. Zack Stortini (21)
  21. JF Jacques (20)

Intranuovo was the last Oiler draft pick to score 50 goals in his 18-year old season and he did it 17 years ago. Eberle could hit that number this season and at the very least he should join the 40-goal club. Eberle’s gift is very rare and he seems to have enough of it to be a very good bet to deliver in the NHL as a scorer.

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9 Responses to "#2 Prospect Winter 2008: Jordan Eberle"

  1. doritogrande says:

    Comes off as awfully harsh marking here. I’m a little concerned about those “lazy” type comments, but maybe that’s just a star player getting bored.

    Given the smarts, you’d have to figure he bottoms out as a third liner. Then again, he could pull a Pouliot.

  2. Fake Craig McTavish says:

    In other news…Sugartits is alive and winging his way to Edmonton.

  3. Chris says:

    Eberle could be the elusive “one shot scorer” that Edmonton has lusted after for so many years. Your comments on goal scorer mirror my own thoughts LT, that if you’re going to have one trick scoring a heck of a lot of goals is the one to have as a hockey player.

  4. spOILer says:

    Eberle not making it shows the difference between him and Gagner…

    Is like Modano and Hull.

    Hopefully.

  5. Chris says:

    Modano and Hull looked pretty good on the same hockey team. Although Hull was past his prime at that time.

  6. Matt N says:

    Who is a comparable for Eberle?
    Smallish pure goal scorer. Perimeter player. Smart positionally but not necessarily a hard worker. Is this a Ray Sheppard/Brett Hull type maybe? A sniper who has a knack for getting to open ice and a quick release. Or is he more of a puck possession guy like Marcus Nasland with quickness and a great wrister?

  7. doritogrande says:

    “Smallish pure goal scorer. Perimeter player. Smart positionally but not necessarily a hard worker.”

    Matt N:

    I’m scared to say it, but the man you just described is Joffrey Lupul.

  8. Lowetide says:

    A goal and 2 assists for Eberle so far tonight:

    30gp, 20-19-39 on the season. Desjardins says that’s an NHLE of 16-16-32 and extrapolated over an entire junior season we get 48-46-94 in 72gp.

  9. cartooncolin says:

    Seeing him good tonight at Pacific Coliseum. I’ll report on any hat-tricks.

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