Jordan Eberle 10-11: This Wheel’s On Fire (If Your Memory Serves You Well)

Jordan Eberle is wise beyond his years. His ability to make a slight change in angle before shooting, or slow down the play until the forecheckers fade; his hockey IQ is exceptional. Eberle’s creativity and offensive prowess rely heavily on his smarts, as Eberle is not big, not a speed demon and doesn’t have a monster shot.

He’s all about the grey matter and hard work. 

  • 5×5 points per 60: 1.82 (4th among regular forwards)
  • 5×4 points per 60: 3.94 (3rd among regular forwards)
  • Qual Comp: 3rd toughest among regular forwards
  • Qual Team: 8th best teammates among regular forwards
  • Corsi Rel: 8.7 (2nd best among regular forwards)
  • Zone Start: 49.3% (8th most difficult among regular forwards)
  • Zone Finish: 51.6% (6th best among regular forwards)
  • Shots on goal/percentage: 158/11.4% (5th among F’s>100 shots)
  • Boxcars: 68gp, 18-25-43 (led the team in points as a rookie)
  • Plus Minus: -12 on a team that was -52.

sources: behind the and hockey-reference.

  1. What do these numbers tell us? Eberle did not play in peaceful waters. Both he and Taylor Hall faced tougher competition than rookies on a normal club and both performed exceptionally well in that situation. I don’t recall two rookies facing the toughest available competition and posting these kinds of numbers while playing on the same line (for the most part) but I’m sure it has happened. But not lately, and not here.
  2. Was Hall stirring the drink? It’s the first thing I looked at with regard to Eberle. 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, so I’m tempted to suggest 8 points in 16 games is an accomplishment.
  3. Is Hall the better offensive prospect? Yes.
  4. How could his numbers be better? Eberle had a fine rookie season considering the team he plays for and the number of shots going the wrong way with the game on the line.
  5. Should we be worried about injuries? I don’t think so, his injury was a fluke play and Eberle has a history of healthy seasons. Shit happens.
  6. What is he 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. I think he’d make an excellent center for Taylor Hall.
  7. What are his top end skills? Great stickhandler and passer. He has a 6th sense around the net, that’s a gift. He’s often where the puck is going to be and stops in the offensive scoring zones all the time, that’s another one. I think he’s Steve Shutt to Hall’s Lafleur (not comparing players, just styles) in that he may supply the defensive conscience to the future 1line while also contributing offensively.  
  8. Is he the most complete player of the three gifted rookies? Tom Renney appears to think so, as Eberle played a lot at EVs and on the PP plus solid PK time for a rookie. We don’t really know if Eberle would have been on the PP or PK as much if the coach enjoyed better depth, but it’s true that given the options a veteran coach 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.
  9. Why did you go so low on your reasonable expectations? The idea is to set a line in the sand that factors in time on ice, quality of team and teammates and churns out a number that sets the bar at a level that we can consider fair. Eberle was a famous prospect, but had only one 50 goal season in junior and his draft year numbers were about as impressive as Marc Pouliot’s in his draft year. He passed the expectations and credit to him.
  10. What can he be? Eberle has a chance to be a complete player-type, helping his team win and playing big minutes at evens, PK and PP. Cerebral player, adjusts well. He’s a splendid young player. It’s important to remember he displayed a wide range of skills as a rookie; Jordan Eberle may end up being that rare player who can help a team win in many situations.
  • Prediction for 2010-11: 72gp, 12-17-29 (.403)
  • Actual 2010: 68gp, 18-25-43 (.632)
  • Eberle exceeded expectations and kept on going

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