By Request: Eberle's Offensive Production Compared

Jonathan Willis
January 06 2010 09:36AM

The chart above is a comparison of Jordan Eberle's offensive numbers in Major Junior with the numbers posted by other players we're familiar with - Oilers draft picks and Patrick O'Sullivan.

To make things fair, I've levelled for age, centered on the year each player was first eligible for the draft. I've made no attempt to compensate for league strength - history shows us that the OHL and WHL are comparable leagues in terms of point production, with the QMJHL slightly behind. For this graph, that would mean knocking down Hemsky and Pouliot a little.

The star all by itself in the "Draft" column represents Sam Gagner's scoring ability in his junior year. A higher pick than any of the others listed here, it's not at all surprising to see him all by himself; most players - even good players - don't score at the rate he did until they're overagers.

The thick black line represents Jordan Eberle's offensive production over his junior career, and it looks very much like a shadow of Rob Schremp.  That seems ominous, but it's important to remember that Schremp was a rather unique player - his offensive production was disproportionally weighted towards the power play (indeed,it still is) and we don't know that Eberle's is (something I should probably check out).

I've previously compared Eberle to Patrick O'Sullivan (the red line), a player who has consistently outperformed Eberle ove rthe same age range.  Of course, that's changed in this final year of Eberle's junior career; his uptick in scoring is far better than O'Sullivan's gradual progression.

The other frightening thing about this graph is the Draft+1 year.  For the top three players, performance in that year did a fine job of foreshadowing their eventual NHL success: in order, Hemsky, Stoll, O'Sullivan.  All three are above Pouliot and Schremp, who are fringe players who might make it in a specific role, and all five are above Eberle at that age.

I'm not drawing conclusions here; as the title indicates, I put this together in response to a comment by Oil Kings 'n' Pretty Things in the last article.  Still, even though I wouldn't have done this otherwise I have difficulty ignoring the implications, which are that Eberle isn't a slam dunk as an NHL star.  So far in his final year of junior he's out-scored Pouliot, O'Sullivan and Stoll - but is that an aberration or a breakout?  It's impossible to know at this point.  Regardless, I find myself feeling a little less optimistic about Eberle's NHL future now than I was last night.

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Jonathan Willis is a freelance writer. He currently works for Oilers Nation, Sportsnet, the Edmonton Journal and Bleacher Report. He's co-written three books and worked for myriad websites, including Grantland, ESPN, The Score, and Hockey Prospectus. He was previously the founder and managing editor of Copper & Blue.
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#51 OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F
January 06 2010, 01:49PM
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Chris. wrote:

With prospects you always look at both the tools, and the results. Schremp, as a junior, had great results immediately after being drafted. Unfortunately, IMO, it is Schremp's limited toolbag that is holding him back as a pro.

Eberle, like Schremp, has been getting great results. Nobody can deny that Eberle has been an incredible "clutch" performer at the IIHF Junior Tourney. In fact, some people say (unbiased local media), that Eberle is the best player in all of Junior right now. These guys like to point to Eberle's incredible "hockey sence"... whatever that means...

Problem is, I just don't see much of a toolbag. Eberle has neither size, nor great skating ability; nor a really powerful shot. Also, Eberle seems to play an awful lot on the perimeter (sound familiar?) Do the Oilers really need another small forward who is prone to let others win the puck battles because he himself is busy finding open ice, or making himself available in the slot?

So despite good results; Eberle is anything but a slam dunk imact NHLer at this point... Though, I was happy with his camp, and also with his stint on the Falcons.

That sums it up nicely, anyone that lives in a junior hockey town knows that the CHL and the NHL are VERY different leagues/games.

How much open ice is Eberle going to find against finely tuned defensive systems with NHL defensmen?

How many goals will he score with that very average shot when he's playing against NHL starting goalies.

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#52 Fish
January 06 2010, 01:50PM
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The most retarded thing I have aver read.

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#53 OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F
January 06 2010, 01:51PM
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Fish wrote:

The most retarded thing I have aver read.

Must suck when you are unable to understand anything but the most simple concepts.

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#54 offside
January 06 2010, 01:59PM
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Haven't visited ON in a while but thought I'd chime in here. Stats are great but there is more to it. Some players simply develop at a later age, if you look around the league you see quite a few that have poor rookie years or spend a year or to in the AHL only to become stong first or second line players. By the graph above let's hope that Eberle is a late bloomer and not another Schremp.

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#55 Death Metal Nightmare
January 06 2010, 01:59PM
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meh. Junior Chart numbers are stupid. the kid looked pretty damn solid with TC team. he had numerous chances to finish and showed a quality motor in the corners and other "greasy" areas.

he might be small and all that but right now he looks a lot more promising in MORE AREAS than Gagner - the future savior.

plus for where they drafted him, its a solid pick still.

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#56 Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach
January 06 2010, 02:01PM
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OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F wrote:

That sums it up nicely, anyone that lives in a junior hockey town knows that the CHL and the NHL are VERY different leagues/games.

How much open ice is Eberle going to find against finely tuned defensive systems with NHL defensmen?

How many goals will he score with that very average shot when he's playing against NHL starting goalies.

How much icetime will he get if he can't play two-way hockey like Quinn pointed out when talking about young players making the team as teenagers?

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#57 GSC
January 06 2010, 02:02PM
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Trenton L wrote:

Too lazy to look up the full list but the WHL site says Eberle in 28GP has:

20 PPG, 13 PPA, 3EVG, 18EVA, 6SHG, 0SHA.

So 55% of his production is on the PP, 35% at EV and 10% SH.

A quick look at current NHL stats shows nobody in the top 35 point getters has even 50% of their points on the PP. The top 10 average around 35% production on the PP. Other than defencemen nobody down to #73 scorer John Tavares has over 50% (53.6%) of their points earned on the PP.

http://whl.ca/stats/gamebygame.php?id=24646

Eberle: 28 GP, 29 G - 31 A - 60 PTS, E...13 PPG, 6 SHG

That's 10 goals at even strength, not 3. Get your facts straight before posting crap like this.

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#58 Chris.
January 06 2010, 02:11PM
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Also. Memo to those who want to fall for Hall: It was Hall that may have cost Team Canada the win last night. Canada had weatherd an early storm; scored a fortunate goal to take the lead; and was just beginning to string together some good shifts, when, Hall got way too cute, and coughed up the puck in the neutral zone for a two on one the other way... Thirty-seven seconds later: the Americans had quieted the crowd, grabbed both the momentum and the lead, and by their body language; had gained the belief that they could win. Hall's turnover was a pivotal mistake. Hall spent much of the night holding on to the puck too long, and trying to force low percentage passes cross seam. His funny, floaty goal aside; I thought Hall had a tough night.

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#59 OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F
January 06 2010, 02:20PM
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Chris. wrote:

Also. Memo to those who want to fall for Hall: It was Hall that may have cost Team Canada the win last night. Canada had weatherd an early storm; scored a fortunate goal to take the lead; and was just beginning to string together some good shifts, when, Hall got way too cute, and coughed up the puck in the neutral zone for a two on one the other way... Thirty-seven seconds later: the Americans had quieted the crowd, grabbed both the momentum and the lead, and by their body language; had gained the belief that they could win. Hall's turnover was a pivotal mistake. Hall spent much of the night holding on to the puck too long, and trying to force low percentage passes cross seam. His funny, floaty goal aside; I thought Hall had a tough night.

Hey you can't debate that your odds of landing a star go up the closer you get to 1st overall.

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#60 Chris.
January 06 2010, 02:24PM
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OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F wrote:

Hey you can't debate that your odds of landing a star go up the closer you get to 1st overall.

I'm not even saying Hall won't, or shouldn't go first overall... Taylor Hall is a quality young player who has probably benifited from being on a very good Spitfire team. I just didn't like his game last night.

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#61 Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach
January 06 2010, 02:37PM
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Chris. wrote:

Also. Memo to those who want to fall for Hall: It was Hall that may have cost Team Canada the win last night. Canada had weatherd an early storm; scored a fortunate goal to take the lead; and was just beginning to string together some good shifts, when, Hall got way too cute, and coughed up the puck in the neutral zone for a two on one the other way... Thirty-seven seconds later: the Americans had quieted the crowd, grabbed both the momentum and the lead, and by their body language; had gained the belief that they could win. Hall's turnover was a pivotal mistake. Hall spent much of the night holding on to the puck too long, and trying to force low percentage passes cross seam. His funny, floaty goal aside; I thought Hall had a tough night.

There isn't one reason alone why we lost last night. The defensive coverage was thrown out the window and it was end to end action, it was a matter of capitalizing on a mistake and is what happened with the GWG.

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#62 OilFan
January 06 2010, 02:39PM
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****swing to punch anyone in face****

I am a retard for reading this post. I like your stuff Willis but this is stupid.

P.S Hall will not be the first pick, after watching him cough up the puck and try to beat everyone by himself on a power play. I think he will drop is the draft. Still top Ten but not top five

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#63 OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F
January 06 2010, 02:45PM
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OilFan wrote:

****swing to punch anyone in face****

I am a retard for reading this post. I like your stuff Willis but this is stupid.

P.S Hall will not be the first pick, after watching him cough up the puck and try to beat everyone by himself on a power play. I think he will drop is the draft. Still top Ten but not top five

Wow

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#64 Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach
January 06 2010, 02:48PM
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What are the odds that we end up drafting Pysyk from the Oil Kings? I could somehow see him dropping and I could see the Oilers moving up or down with their second pick to get him.

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#65 Dyckster
January 06 2010, 02:52PM
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Jon wrote:

Willis, you are an idiot

WTF?

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#66 OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F
January 06 2010, 02:56PM
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Dyckster wrote:

WTF?

Some people just can't understand stats and their appliacation.

All this is, is showing history and in a round about way probabilities.

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#67 Chris.
January 06 2010, 02:56PM
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@ Jon, and OilFan: What's the matter? Did Willis steal the vodka you were pouring in your Koolaid?

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#69 Bucknuck
January 06 2010, 03:02PM
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What is the matter with you people?

"idiot" "buffoon" and "retarded" are not words to use in good counter arguments.

The strong emotional reaction to this post re-inforces my growing belief that some Oilers fans are bunch of whiny sissy faces with their hands on their ears going NANANANANANA if someone tries to hold down expectations to reasonable levels.

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#70 Tayranchula
January 06 2010, 03:03PM
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Another thing to look at in those charts is who did the player play with....Is Eberle even playing with anyone that is NHL drafted on his line or projected high in the upcoming draft?

Schremp played with Boland and Perry (i believe)

Gagner played with the greatest ever first line in junior sports at the time with Kane and Kostitsyn.

Not sure about the rest but Pouliot did play with Crosby (not sure if they played on the same line regularly)

Thats just something to also play into acount when looking at this chart

Maybe the only reason why Gagner was at the top of this list same with Schremp was because of who they played with?

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#71 Oil Kings 'n' Pretty Things
January 06 2010, 03:03PM
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Jonathan Willis wrote:

From the article:

I'm not drawing conclusions here; as the title indicates, I put this together in response to a comment by Oil Kings 'n' Pretty Things in the last article. Still, even though I wouldn't have done this otherwise I have difficulty ignoring the implications, which are that Eberle isn't a slam dunk as an NHL star. So far in his final year of junior he's out-scored Pouliot, O'Sullivan and Stoll - but is that an aberration or a breakout? It's impossible to know at this point. Regardless, I find myself feeling a little less optimistic about Eberle's NHL future now than I was last night.

There's a sad minority of people who read this site that can't be bothered to understand what they're reading. This obviously wasn't an attempt to study Eberle's long-term potential in detail; it was simply a quick and dirty comparison of Eberle to players we're all familiar with.

The unfortunate reality is that this obvious fact is simply too difficult for a few people to grasp, and that's a shame. Nevertheless, I remain confident that they will continue to share their opinions with others, regardless of how stupid or foolish it makes them look, and I'd like to ask that we respond not with anger, but with pity.

What kind of idiot would even suggest this kind of...

...oh...

...right.

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#72 hat pughes
January 06 2010, 03:07PM
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Chris. wrote:

Also. Memo to those who want to fall for Hall: It was Hall that may have cost Team Canada the win last night. Canada had weatherd an early storm; scored a fortunate goal to take the lead; and was just beginning to string together some good shifts, when, Hall got way too cute, and coughed up the puck in the neutral zone for a two on one the other way... Thirty-seven seconds later: the Americans had quieted the crowd, grabbed both the momentum and the lead, and by their body language; had gained the belief that they could win. Hall's turnover was a pivotal mistake. Hall spent much of the night holding on to the puck too long, and trying to force low percentage passes cross seam. His funny, floaty goal aside; I thought Hall had a tough night.

Was watching the game with the "little lady" and said the moment Hall did the drop pass at the blue line...."Well the Oil doesnt have to worry about teaching him that play out of their offensive playbook".

That aside...he: -is the youngest player on the team; - has game and brings it; and Id rather have a player trying to force the puck and play into the tough areas of the ice than play passive and soft and he does that.

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#73 Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach
January 06 2010, 03:08PM
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Jonathan Willis wrote:

From the article:

I'm not drawing conclusions here; as the title indicates, I put this together in response to a comment by Oil Kings 'n' Pretty Things in the last article. Still, even though I wouldn't have done this otherwise I have difficulty ignoring the implications, which are that Eberle isn't a slam dunk as an NHL star. So far in his final year of junior he's out-scored Pouliot, O'Sullivan and Stoll - but is that an aberration or a breakout? It's impossible to know at this point. Regardless, I find myself feeling a little less optimistic about Eberle's NHL future now than I was last night.

There's a sad minority of people who read this site that can't be bothered to understand what they're reading. This obviously wasn't an attempt to study Eberle's long-term potential in detail; it was simply a quick and dirty comparison of Eberle to players we're all familiar with.

The unfortunate reality is that this obvious fact is simply too difficult for a few people to grasp, and that's a shame. Nevertheless, I remain confident that they will continue to share their opinions with others, regardless of how stupid or foolish it makes them look, and I'd like to ask that we respond not with anger, but with pity.

It's obvious the chart isn't going to be 100% accurate heck it could be way out to lunch, but someone asked for this and you did it, tip my hat to you for that.

I was too curious about something like this, but now that I look at it I realize it is really hard to make something that would compare these players accurately.

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#75 Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach
January 06 2010, 03:09PM
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hat pughes wrote:

Was watching the game with the "little lady" and said the moment Hall did the drop pass at the blue line...."Well the Oil doesnt have to worry about teaching him that play out of their offensive playbook".

That aside...he: -is the youngest player on the team; - has game and brings it; and Id rather have a player trying to force the puck and play into the tough areas of the ice than play passive and soft and he does that.

I said all game that the Juniors looked like they were using the Oilers blueprints for offense. All that crap they tried around the blueline and all the forced passes were killing us.

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#76 Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach
January 06 2010, 03:11PM
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Jonathan Willis wrote:

I wouldn't say the only reason, but linemates and team quality is definitely something worth keeping in mind.

Eberle's certainly been the top offensive player in Regina for some time.

Sad thing is they suck with him, what are they going to look like next year without him?

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#77 Trenton L
January 06 2010, 03:14PM
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Apparently i can't read because i have obviously been proven wrong and can't find the data I came up with in the first place. Apologies to all.

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#78 Trenton L
January 06 2010, 03:22PM
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I apparently mixed up his PPG with his PPA when subtracted from his totals to find EVG and EVA.

That still means 33 PPP, 21 EVP and 6 SHP for 55% production on the PP.

Once again sorry for the confusion. Stats as per the leaders board on the whl site.

http://whl.ca/stats/statdisplay.php?type=records

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#79 OilFan
January 06 2010, 03:39PM
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I said I was a retard. Not anyone else. What if anything does the graph mean ? Eberle will not be a good player ? I think the kid needs a chance before people pass judgement. What else do you want the kid to do ?

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#80 Fish
January 06 2010, 03:48PM
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@OilFan

Exactly. All the graphs, stats and data from junior one can come up with will never tell you if the kid can play in the NHL. Remember Jason Bonsignore. The article was an exercise in futility

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#81 common sense
January 06 2010, 03:52PM
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Nice drivel. All I know is this kids got potential. Now, it's gonna take a lot of training and good ole effort. There are no guarantees in life but we can all hope. ps. by simple world jr tourney individual goal count, Eberle has excellent NHL company. Shrempf was a near complete bust at the world junior tourney for team usa.

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#82 The Towel Boy
January 06 2010, 03:56PM
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common sense wrote:

Nice drivel. All I know is this kids got potential. Now, it's gonna take a lot of training and good ole effort. There are no guarantees in life but we can all hope. ps. by simple world jr tourney individual goal count, Eberle has excellent NHL company. Shrempf was a near complete bust at the world junior tourney for team usa.

Who brought common sense into this!?!

I was looking at those goal totals. There's some pretty good company in that list for sure.

Carter, Lindros and Tavares to name a few.

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#83 Bob Cobb
January 06 2010, 04:01PM
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@Chris.

It wasn't Halls turnover that cost Canada the game last night, it was Desjardins in ability to change goalies before it got to five, Allen should have been out after the 3rd goal. The horrible rebound that Allen gave up in the third off the US dump that lead to the US goal cost Canada the game.

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#84 OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F
January 06 2010, 04:03PM
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Fish wrote:

Exactly. All the graphs, stats and data from junior one can come up with will never tell you if the kid can play in the NHL. Remember Jason Bonsignore. The article was an exercise in futility

Are you guys incapable of reading? someone asked how Eberle's jr numbers stack up to some of the other Oiler prospects/young players.

This was the answer to that question.

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#85 hat pughes
January 06 2010, 04:05PM
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Fish wrote:

Exactly. All the graphs, stats and data from junior one can come up with will never tell you if the kid can play in the NHL. Remember Jason Bonsignore. The article was an exercise in futility

To echo Commonsense who seems to have some... Bonsignore did "butkus" too at the WJC....and in contrast lets look at some other non-statistical checklist items recognizing that he is competing against players of his own age group and not the NHL -- but keep in mind in time this age group will be in the Show too:

- Can the player score goals ? 14 goals over two years at the WJC ... um yup!

- What does the player do at crunch time? Umm need I say more about scoring "Clutch" goals ...not only in one tournament but in two and to quote him ... "With 5 seconds left destiny panics"

- How does he get it done...is he a fringe player or a take charge guy ?

He wants to have the puck...likes to score and shows it...has a little Kovalchuk/Ovechkin in him with his celebrations and his swagger and thats ok by me.

And the naysayers will look at the stats and his size...and yes he needs to get NHL better and be able to compete in the show. So the raw material and the tools are all there.... so he's way ahead of many others.

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#86 Petr's Jofa
January 06 2010, 04:09PM
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One reason Tambellini should think about keeping him as one of Edmonton's small forwards is that Eberle's favorite team is the Oilers.

You've got to keep someone who wants to play there, right?

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#87 OilFan
January 06 2010, 04:16PM
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fair enough. But why ?

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#89 Fish
January 06 2010, 04:19PM
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@Jonathan Willis

In my face.

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#91 Fish
January 06 2010, 04:32PM
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@Jonathan Willis

No need to apologize at all. It was I, who was being pr*ck.

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#92 Matt Henderson
January 06 2010, 04:44PM
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Group Hug!

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#93 Eddie Shore
January 06 2010, 05:46PM
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@Chris.

A perimeter player who has 60 pts in 28 games? A perimeter player who was a threat to score in every single Canadian game in the WJC? Are we talking about the same player? I respectfully disagree with your assessment of the type of player he is and will continue to develop into.

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#94 cableguy - 2nd Tier Fan
January 06 2010, 05:48PM
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Matt Henderson wrote:

Group Hug!

sorry, still busy with yo momma

ohhhhhhh!!

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#95 Word
January 06 2010, 05:49PM
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Jonathan Willis wrote:

Fish wrote:

All the graphs, stats and data from junior one can come up with will never tell you if the kid can play in the NHL. Remember Jason Bonsignore.

Before criticizng statistics based on an example, it sometimes helps to look at your example and see if it backs up what you're saying.

Jason Bonsignore's junior points per game:

Draft -1: 0.64 Draft: 1.48 Draft +1: 1.27 Draft +2: 1.44

So if we're sitting back looking at Bonsignore at the same point we are with Eberle, we'd be saying that despite good draft year numbers he never crossed that 1.5 line (every player listed above did) and that he basically peaked in his draft year and has been trending towards "bust" ever since - no progression at all.

In short: Fish, your example actually shows that statistics can help show us players with bust potential.

It continues to amaze me that people aren't cpable of checking their examples with the aid of a calculator before nominating them as a stats failure. In this case, by age 20 the stats were fine. It was the people obsessed with his draft number who were wrong.

Wait-a-minute... Because Bonsignore's numbers stagnated after his draft year and he was a bust... And Eberle's numbers have gone up since his draft year...

*deep-thinking face aka taking-a-poop face*

Your graph means Eberle is going to be the greatest player of all time!

*deeper-thinking face aka forcing-a-poop face*

But because Schremp's numbers went up since his draft year and he was a bust... and Eberle's numbers have gone up since his draft year... He's going to be a bust?

Damnit! Math is hard. And what time does Train X get here anyway? I was told it would be going 20kph faster than Train Y despite the extra distance...

[Editor's Note - I actually get the purpose of your post Willis. It was to show that no matter how good a player is in Junior, the Oilers' fecal version of the midas touch when it comes to drafting inevitably gives pink eye to the fans, right?]

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#96 Eddie Shore
January 06 2010, 05:51PM
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OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F wrote:

That sums it up nicely, anyone that lives in a junior hockey town knows that the CHL and the NHL are VERY different leagues/games.

How much open ice is Eberle going to find against finely tuned defensive systems with NHL defensmen?

How many goals will he score with that very average shot when he's playing against NHL starting goalies.

Who is to say he won't be able to beat NHL defensemen and NHL goalies? Players get bigger, faster and stronger as they mature and develop into NHL players..usually anyways.

The kids game is not without flaws but jesus people he is 19 years old. He may not be the next 87 but he is a very good junior player with NHL potential. Can we reserve judgement until he actually plays in the NHL??

I understand Willis' article was directed at a question he was asked but it's getting out of hand around here

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#97 cableguy - 2nd Tier Fan
January 06 2010, 05:55PM
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Eddie Shore wrote:

Who is to say he won't be able to beat NHL defensemen and NHL goalies? Players get bigger, faster and stronger as they mature and develop into NHL players..usually anyways.

The kids game is not without flaws but jesus people he is 19 years old. He may not be the next 87 but he is a very good junior player with NHL potential. Can we reserve judgement until he actually plays in the NHL??

I understand Willis' article was directed at a question he was asked but it's getting out of hand around here

~hang on just a second. are you trying to use common sense and reasoned thoughts on a hockey message board?~

****mind blown****

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#98 Eddie Shore
January 06 2010, 05:58PM
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@cableguy - 2nd Tier Fan

Hard to comprehend around here..

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#99 Greg MC
January 06 2010, 06:08PM
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Jordan Eberle is a smart, smart player. I just can't stop admiring how he thinks the game out there on the ice.

We will see very soon if he will produce at the pro level.

His speed keeps being questioned, but he seems to get across the crease area fast enough.

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#100 GSC
January 06 2010, 06:46PM
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When it comes to Schremp vs. Eberle, it should be clear that Jordan owns Robbie in one important category: big goals in big games. While Robbie disappeared for Team USA (and in London) when the spotlight was on, Eberle has excelled on the big stage. Hell, he put the team on his damned shoulders last night and took them into overtime. What else do you want from him?

Like fellow mathematician Lowetide says, it's important that a prospect like Eberle gradually progress in terms of development, dominating the competition at each level. He's doing that now in a big way in juniors, and all arrows are pointing up, so what's the problem?

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