Jordan Eberle Revisited

Jonathan Willis
March 23 2010 07:35AM

New York Islanders v Edmonton Oilers

When the Edmonton Oilers announced that they were going to send prospect Jordan Eberle to Springfield and likely keep him there for the rest of the season, I’ll admit that I was on-board with the proposal. I thought it demonstrated patience and a measured approach the Oilers have too long lacked with their prospects, and that it was probably the best place to get Eberle started, shielded from the expectations that come with being the shiniest new youngster on a last-place team.

Eberle’s performance in Springfield has caused me to rethink that stance.

In three games with the Falcons, Eberle has three goals, three assists, and a plus-3 rating. He’s scored one-third of the Falcons’ goals since he started playing for the team, and he’s recorded points on two-thirds of them. Those are incredible numbers, and combined with his performance last year give us a strong indication that he’s too good for the AHL.

Generally, I try not to let my opinion move too quickly on players; everyone has hot and cold streaks, and it’s only with time that we can get an accurate picture of where a player’s true talent level lies. Three games don’t give us that picture. Then again, we aren’t talking about penciling the kid in on the first line for the next four years either; all we’re talking about is a major league cup of coffee.

It’s an idea that has support from a lot of different people – Ben Massey at Copper & Blue raved about Eberle’s AHL performance, Lowetide thinks that he’s ready, and Dan Barnes is of the opinion that long-suffering Oilers fans deserve a chance to see him play. They all have good points, and those points all deserve consideration.

Balanced against that are the ideas I argued for when the Oilers first made the announcement, ideas that people like David Staples, possibly (like me) burned by seeing too many players in the NHL before they were ready, support. Taking time to allow players to succeed before they move up the depth chart is important, both for their development and for the NHL team.  Ladislav Smid, for instance, probably should have had at least one more year in the minors, something which might have been good for his development, would have been good for the team, and would have kept him on a cheap contract for an additional year.

Speaking of which, another point for consideration is that there’s no purpose to burning up a year of Eberle’s cheap entry level contract playing out the final minutes of a dying and irredeemable season. According to CapGeek, that’s no longer a concern; the Oilers have only 10 games left and Eberle’s contract will slide to next season as long as he plays fewer than 11 games in the NHL. There may be other concerns; I’m not a CBA expert and if there are that would provide a valid reason for keeping Eberle in the AHL.

But that’s the only reason at this point. Eberle’s play has been strong enough that he’s earned a call-up on merit, and as long as it won’t weaken the Oilers’ ability to negotiate with him in the future they should give him his first NHL experience.

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Jonathan Willis is a freelance writer. He currently works for Oilers Nation, 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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#101 Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach
March 23 2010, 02:04PM
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Senator Theo wrote:

This may have been touched on already, but if he keeps lighting it up in the AHL and the Oilers don't call him up this year, the expectations on him are going to spiral out of control in the offseason.

If we call him up now when these games are basically meaningless, fans will have a better idea of what to expect from him next year.

If he gets 3g and 3a in 3 games in the NHL fans will be calling for him to get 50 goals next year. It doesn't really matter what you do with him, no matter what people are going to get bored in the summer and start making projections that aren't reachable. It's not just fans, wait for the media too.

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#102 Bucknuck
March 23 2010, 02:11PM
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Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach wrote:

If he gets 3g and 3a in 3 games in the NHL fans will be calling for him to get 50 goals next year. It doesn't really matter what you do with him, no matter what people are going to get bored in the summer and start making projections that aren't reachable. It's not just fans, wait for the media too.

One of these days the players will meet our expectations and then you'll look really silly. Well... maybe not. But wouldn't it be great if Gagner had an eighty point season, or Cogs scores thirty, or Eberle fifty, or Hemsky gets 100 points. Someday.

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#103 Tapdog
March 23 2010, 02:56PM
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Archaeologuy wrote:

I agree that dealing Hemsky for Toronto's (Boston) pick isnt going to happen. Hemsky is the only asset that could even make Boston think about it, but how could they turn down the opportunity for a possible 80-90 point forward (Hall or Seguin) for the next 7-8 years?

This is where Boston's desire to win the Cup will show. Hemsky's age slots in between that of Savard, Chara and Krejci, Bergeron. He would be a great fit there. I know that this is a tough one to play out but toss in the option of sending Ryder back here, unloads 4 million of their books and replace it with Hemsky... Boston has a great deal of young kids already. One of the better stock piles of youngsters in the league. This deal would obviously be a tough one to put together but to get both Seguin and Hall would be freakin awesome. Imagine; Hall-Seguin-Eberle!!!!! I love Hemsky but what is he going to bring this team in the years to come, we won't be challenging for anything and he has two years left on his contract. Unless things really change here do you really think he is going to re-up? If trading this guy brings back a Seguin or Hall, I say, Thank you for everything Hemmer, I hope you get that Cup in Boston! They should be looking a moving Penner as well, will his value ever be higher? Does he have the drive to get better? His age is the same bracket as Hemsky. Sorry, but are we going to rebuild here or bandaid our way to 7th - 9th place for years to come! We have the chips to make things like this happen so make it happen!!

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#104 Tapdog
March 23 2010, 03:03PM
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Also, leave Eberle in Springfield until the Oilers are secured of last place then bring him up for a few games! I would rather see him play a boat load of minutes down there instead of the 14-17 minutes (at best) he may see here!

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#105 Archaeologuy
March 23 2010, 03:03PM
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@Tapdog

But yet again, if you're so sure that Hall or Seguin is going to be a huge offensive player, dont you think the Bruins management sees the same thing? In 3 years Hall or Seguin might be just as offensively productive as Hemsky (if they live up to the hype). They could have their cake AND eat it too with Hall/Seguin.

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#106 Tapdog
March 23 2010, 03:22PM
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Archaeologuy wrote:

But yet again, if you're so sure that Hall or Seguin is going to be a huge offensive player, dont you think the Bruins management sees the same thing? In 3 years Hall or Seguin might be just as offensively productive as Hemsky (if they live up to the hype). They could have their cake AND eat it too with Hall/Seguin.

You are right but the dynamics of Savard and Chara will be lost as their contributions to the team will be vastly different in three years.

Honestly, I don't think that just Hemsky will get it done. I am sure there will have to be more and that is why I suggested that taking back Ryder in a deal would help towards getting the deal done. A prospect I am sure would have to be apart of the deal.

I am just tossing out my point of view on this situation and this is how I would try to push things.

If Burke can massage his way into getting the Sedin's in Vancouver together, why not at least give it a shot?

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#107 Bucknuck
March 23 2010, 03:24PM
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Archaeologuy wrote:

But yet again, if you're so sure that Hall or Seguin is going to be a huge offensive player, dont you think the Bruins management sees the same thing? In 3 years Hall or Seguin might be just as offensively productive as Hemsky (if they live up to the hype). They could have their cake AND eat it too with Hall/Seguin.

Well that's where the mid first round pick comes in... but I think the point is moot as it will be the islanders with that pick not Boston. You heard it here first. :-) Since the islanders are rebuilding too they will not need Hemsky.

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#108 Tapdog
March 23 2010, 03:58PM
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@Bucknuck

The Islanders are a possibility! but the same could be said for TB, Car, NYR, Florida, Columbus! At the end of the day it comes down to the lottery and that is why the Oilers have to be dead last!

All I hope for is that all possibilites are explored!

With this Boston senario, there is talk that TOR will flip Kaberle to Boston for the Boston 1st pick and ??. If they could move the TOR pick for Hemsky and ??, that would go a long way in putting them in contention next year and Boston still have a pile of 2nd rouders they could put together to move up again. Just an opinion!

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#109 papaburgundy
March 23 2010, 04:01PM
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Who's Steve the Pirate?

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#110 Rusty Duggan
March 23 2010, 04:27PM
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I hate to be the conspiracy guy, but do you actually think Bettman would let Edmonton pick 1-2?

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#111 Tapdog
March 23 2010, 05:54PM
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Rusty Duggan wrote:

I hate to be the conspiracy guy, but do you actually think Bettman would let Edmonton pick 1-2?

That is why I keep saying that the Oilers have to be dead last to make sure they get a top 2 pick! I agree that Bettman will some how have a hand in someone else winning the lottery and pushing the Oilers back to the # 2 slot. Making a trade at the draft to acquire the other pick what ever it is, will be a last minute thing and hopefully he cannot affect that!

I know the probabilities of this actually happening are remote but I do think it is do-able!

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#112 Kellan
March 23 2010, 06:02PM
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I think the "dangle the carrot" arguement is one of the best I have heard yet.

One of two things happen, he comes up:

1. He continues his hot season with a finish in the NHL 2. He realizes how fast the game is and has a summer to work on his deficiencies.

He has to be an upgrade over a few of our Pylons.

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#113 Wanyes bastard child
March 23 2010, 06:35PM
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I was on the same page with Arch in a previous thread stating that in no way does Boston move their pick.

And as RC mentioned, I think we have a better chance of getting the third from a Columbus or Tampa. With the third pretty much Cam Fowler I see Hemsky as way to much to give up for Fowler but I could see something like this...

Souray and Cogs, POS or Nillson (possibly even Potulny) and our second round pick to aquire the third for Fowler. Might need a few more pieces depending on who ends up with the third but I think its a decent start.

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#114 Andrew
March 23 2010, 06:58PM
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I have never heard anything so absurd. Boston needs a goal scorer to replace what they lost in Phil Kessel. In Seguin/Hall they get it back and more. If you watch Kessel play he's at his most effective when he's not carrying the puck. He finds soft spots on the ice and uses a very heavy shot to his advantage. In Hall and Seguin you have two very different animals. Hall is guy who can create offence out of nothing. He has exceptional moves to create space and has very explosive speed and has underrated passing skills. Seguin is a complete player, a true center, and does everything very well albeit his offense is less flashy than Hall's. Boston would have to fire their entire management team if they moved their pick for any player on the Oilers. Hemsky is a playmaker not a goal scorer. In 9 years in Edmonton he has shown that he lacks that killer instinct with his shot and lacks an ability to read where he should place himself for prime shots. Boston already has 2 very good playmakers but no true snipers. Krejci is about on the same level as Hemsky in terms of skill and Savard is one of the best and most consistent playmaking centers in the league. The fact is they have an 18% chance at that top pick and they are sitting on it unless they get a franchise caliber player, which the Oilers don't have.

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#115 Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach
March 24 2010, 07:57AM
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Bucknuck wrote:

One of these days the players will meet our expectations and then you'll look really silly. Well... maybe not. But wouldn't it be great if Gagner had an eighty point season, or Cogs scores thirty, or Eberle fifty, or Hemsky gets 100 points. Someday.

Except very few are offering actual predictions other then he is going to be good or great, what exactly does that mean?

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#116 Jodes
March 24 2010, 05:17PM
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Speaking of the World Championships, I guess Dustin's more then likely not going to make the team now that Mac T's the head coach eh?

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