Eberle Slated For Springfield

Jonathan Willis
March 06 2010 06:21PM

IIHF World Junior Championship - Canada v USA - Gold Medal Game

In what must be regarded as a surprise move, the Edmonton Oilers appear to have decided against adding Jordan Eberle to their line-up for the remainder of the season. Once the WHL season concludes, Eberle will play professional hockey, but he’ll do it with the Springfield Falcons of the American Hockey League.

Oilers executive (for the time being, anyway) Kevin Prendergast spoke at length on the decision, and stressed many of the same points the Oilers emphasized when they tagged Gilbert Brule for the AHL after acquiring him from Columbus in exchange for Raffi Torres.

I like the decision. I’ll admit that part of me wanted to see Eberle play for the Oilers over the last bit of this season, but at the same time it’s a huge jump from Major Junior to NHL hockey, and starting in the AHL is a good way for Eberle to get his feet wet. He did it last year and did well offensively (although his plus/minus was pretty ugly).

The other reasons provided seem like bunkum to me : apparently Steve Tambellini needs to assess the guys on the NHL roster right now (what else is new?), a bunch of Springfield Falcons have a future with the Oilers and Eberle should get used to them (most of the kids with potential are already on the roster) and the environment in Springfield is really good (it isn’t). But none of that matters; the Oilers don’t want to rush him and I can get behind that kind of talk.

Depending on how Eberle does, it’s entirely possible he won’t be on the NHL roster to start next season either. That strikes me as improbable, given that the Oilers need to sell tickets and Eberle will help with that, but the fact they aren’t rushing him into the line-up now suggests to me that they may go that route.

It’s no secret that I’ve been highly critical of Steve Tambellini’s moves as the Oilers’ manager, but if he can bring some patience to the Oilers development system, that will be a positive step.

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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 Bill Rizer
March 07 2010, 08:57AM
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A decision I actually agree with. Weird.

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#52 Travis Dakin
March 07 2010, 09:06AM
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@The 'Real' Ron Burgundy

*sigh* For the record, being one of "those guys" is a negative thing. Or to put it bluntly, someone who lacks basic reading comprehension sills. Let me break it down for you....

Yes I am one of Those guys, esp when someone comes on here and thinks that the oil actually have someone that they could trade for a #1 pick.

Apparently you just saw that I replied to you and then you went on a rant without even reading what I wrote in plain English.... I said, "Hemsky and what else would get that number 2 pick?"

Yes hemmer is only 26 and a 4.1 hit for the next 2 years. But...He has never played a full season, never been a ppg guy(and when you are using the ppg stat either he is or he isnt, not almost), a career minus player, only took his team to the playoffs twice in his illustrious career.

Why can't you say almost? in 313 games since the lock out he has scored 289 points for 0.92p/pg. There is a very small number of players in the league who have done better. I'm thinking something like 30? That's about top 4.5% So you're saying that there is no middle ground on skill level? Either you are elite or garbage? There is no "very good?" ok.

He's had the benefit of playing on a good team ONCE in his career and where did that take him? SCF G7. Remember? Do I really need to start brining up the lack of success of other so-called "elite" players, i.e. Thornton, Iginla, Kovalchuk, Nash.... Really?

If he helped horc get 73 points that year, then what happened the next year when he got 51 playing alongside hemskey.

Apparently you've blanked out in your memory how awesome that 06/07 team was. You've also failed to notice that they played 64 games together that year AND that Horcoff scored 50 points in 53 games before a shoulder injury the next year - While playing with Hemsky. One player a team makes?

Dont get me wrong I love Hemsky on our team, and cant wait for him to be back, but we've seen him for seven years and has yet to take that elusive next step. If I'm Boston - Hall or Seguin have the potential to be a franchise player, and either is worth way more than Hemsky, a guy whose had every opportunity to be that here. And they have a way better contract as well as being seven years younger..

Again so you can read it this time...

Travis Dakin said: "It was a question of what it would take to get it and any deal involving a pick of that magnitude starts with Hemsky EVERY TIME. I don't think Boston would get rid of that pick for any other reason than the window of opportunity to win is a short one. After losing Kessel and with an aging Savard and Chara, I think they would love to have a Hemsky right now. It's a choice. Win now or win later."

I wouldn't get rid of Hemsky for anything LESS than a top 3 pick. He's my favourite player on this team. The only reason Boston would trade that pick is to win NOW and the only place a conversation about trading that pick to the Oilers starts is with Ales Hemsky. Ales Hemsky and what?

How you felt the need to argue this just blows my mind.

*High fives himself because no one else is up this early on a Sunday to high five with.... Then realizes he can give himself props and proceeds to do so*

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#53 tlbest99
March 07 2010, 09:36AM
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David S wrote:

"...and they seem to be doing just fine on playoff caliber teams."

That's your answer. No "playoff caliber team" around here. Those teams have enough good guys around to shelter the new guys and bring them along properly. Us? Not so much.

Besides, after seeing what Boogaard (sp?) did last night, if I'm Tambellini there's no way I want my prized asset any where near that sort of thing.

both teams were picked to miss the playoffs this year and colorado was picked to finish dead last, they went with youth and pushed them to preform and they did.....still not sure how playing Eberle up for the last 5 - 8 games of the season would hurt his development, and if we are scared he might get hurt give him a ringette stick and send him to the u of a because he will never play in the NHL if thats the case. Exposing him to the pace of play can only help, The falcons are a disaster and he will learn nothing down there......

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#54 Dan the Man
March 07 2010, 10:07AM
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From the Journal:

Tyler Seguin, the Plymouth Whalers centre the Oilers might take with the first or second draft pick, has a two point (102-100) lead on Windsor Spitfires winger Taylor Hall, the other kid the Oilers covet, in the scoring race for Canadian major junior hockey. Seguin and Gagner are two of only four players in either the WHL or OHL the last 10 years who have hit 100 points when they're still 17 years old. Steve Stamkos and John Tavares are the others.

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#55 Butters
March 07 2010, 10:11AM
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I for one, think things are looking up for the Oil. First off, JEB has 102 points with the Regina Pats-a non-playoff team. If this were his draft year I suspect he would be mentioned in the same breath as Hall. So going forward, the Oilers will have two blue chip prospects. If MAP pans out as well, it's blue skies ahead for my beloved Oil-with a few tweaks here and there.

A handful of games in Springfield might be better for JEB than hanging out in a locker room where everyone is resigned to losing imo.

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#56 Dan the Man
March 07 2010, 10:22AM
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Butters wrote:

I for one, think things are looking up for the Oil. First off, JEB has 102 points with the Regina Pats-a non-playoff team. If this were his draft year I suspect he would be mentioned in the same breath as Hall. So going forward, the Oilers will have two blue chip prospects. If MAP pans out as well, it's blue skies ahead for my beloved Oil-with a few tweaks here and there.

A handful of games in Springfield might be better for JEB than hanging out in a locker room where everyone is resigned to losing imo.

It's nice to be optimistic but that's a pretty big "if" considering Eberle was drafted 2 years ago it's not really fair to compare the two players. Also I'm guessing you are referring to MPS (Magnus Paajarvi Svenson) and not MAP (Marc Antoine Pouliot)?

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#57 Butters
March 07 2010, 10:40AM
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@Dan the Man

Yes, MPS thanks. I guess my point should have been Eberle is at least as good as Hall is now. Next year the deck will be re-shuffled. It will be Hall, Eberle, Hemsky, Pennner, Gagne, and that will be expected to provide the offence. The remaining players will be checkers and fouth liners.

I think this year was anamalous as far as injuries are concerned so I can't see next year being the disaster this one was.

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#58 RossCreekNation
March 07 2010, 11:01AM
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Brandon wrote:

so that article JW posted says "Calgarian will again go to AHL when WHL done" since when is he from Calgary? Everything I have ever read about him said he was born and raised in Regina, and only played one year in Calgary in Midget. Of course leave it to Flamers to take credit for something that's not theirs.

This article comes from Regina's Leader-Post, from the same writer.

@ Everyone

And it seems this news leaked out a bit late. Bryn Griffiths tweeted this March 4th @ 10:41...

The Leader Post reports that Jordan Eberle will now be sent to Springfield of the AHL according to Oilers Kevin Prendergast. The Oilers have no interest in rushing the kid into the NHL. Prendergast also stated to the LP that if Jordan lights it up in the AHL, he might get called up for a short stint with the big club.

So he COULD end up in Edmonton yet, anyways.

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#59 Mooseknuckles
March 07 2010, 11:16AM
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@ Willis

I enjoyed your little poke at Prendergast. I agree, his termination papers are long overdue.

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#60 Crash
March 07 2010, 11:34AM
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This decision may just be as simple as wanting the first 9 games of the beginning of next season when the games really mean something to assess whether or not to burn the 1st year of Eberle's entry level contract.

If he plays 9 games this year then only one game played at the beginning of next year would kick in the 1st year of his entry level.

It's probably better to use the 1st 9 games next year to decide if Eberle is ready for the NHL. If he isn't he can be sent back to Oklahoma next season without burning year 1 of the entry level contract. Also better to use those 9 games next year after the team has been revamped to see how he fits in with the team as it's going to be.

Being a paying customer I'm looking forward to seeing him get his shot no matter when it is.

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#61 madjam
March 07 2010, 11:37AM
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How much faith do Oiler fans have in upper management decisions to begin with ? Not much, and for good reasons . Our Oiler management is lax in recognizing and developing talent no matter what league their in . Need i mention their inability to coach and motivate to get to an acceptable level . Makes you seriously wonder if they could destroy any elite or coming elite player and their effectiveness ? Optimism will come with new management ,and not before that, i'm afraid to say . It's looking like Katz is about as fast as Tams at recognition and action to back it up . The double speak of Oiler management is so constant that it's hard not to laugh - say one thing, flip flop , etc. and do another . Who stays and who goes on team for next season ? Pretty hard to tell as managerial team still does not seem to even know - does that surprise anyone ?? Their vision ,is a cloud at the best of times , and how to accomplish it a mystery at the best of times .

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#62 Crash
March 07 2010, 11:45AM
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Crash wrote:

This decision may just be as simple as wanting the first 9 games of the beginning of next season when the games really mean something to assess whether or not to burn the 1st year of Eberle's entry level contract.

If he plays 9 games this year then only one game played at the beginning of next year would kick in the 1st year of his entry level.

It's probably better to use the 1st 9 games next year to decide if Eberle is ready for the NHL. If he isn't he can be sent back to Oklahoma next season without burning year 1 of the entry level contract. Also better to use those 9 games next year after the team has been revamped to see how he fits in with the team as it's going to be.

Being a paying customer I'm looking forward to seeing him get his shot no matter when it is.

Or maybe he will just play in Springfield until the Oilers only have 9 games left this season. When Regina is finished the Oilers still have 14 games left.

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#63 Petr's Jofa
March 07 2010, 11:57AM
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Dan the Man wrote:

From the Journal:

Tyler Seguin, the Plymouth Whalers centre the Oilers might take with the first or second draft pick, has a two point (102-100) lead on Windsor Spitfires winger Taylor Hall, the other kid the Oilers covet, in the scoring race for Canadian major junior hockey. Seguin and Gagner are two of only four players in either the WHL or OHL the last 10 years who have hit 100 points when they're still 17 years old. Steve Stamkos and John Tavares are the others.

Anyone else hoping that the Oilers finis last and lose the draft lottery to drop to #2? That way tehe Hall Seguin debate is taken out of Tambo's hands and Oiler fans won't have something to second guess forever.

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#64 JackBauer
March 07 2010, 11:59AM
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I do not agree with trading out first overall pick in 2011 since it will most likely be a lottery pick too.

If im Boston there is no chance im moving that first pick even for Hemsky.

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#65 pokey reddoc
March 07 2010, 12:10PM
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Petr's Jofa wrote:

Anyone else hoping that the Oilers finis last and lose the draft lottery to drop to #2? That way tehe Hall Seguin debate is taken out of Tambo's hands and Oiler fans won't have something to second guess forever.

Good point, and I do sorta agree. The second guessing does get old, but it's pretty tough not to criticize organizations that have laid so many eggs at the draft...

I do think that Hall and Seguin are can't miss prospects, but I sort of hope Hall is picked if we get the opportunity because how long has it been since Edmonton has had a one shot scorer? The second guessing gets

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#66 Petr's Jofa
March 07 2010, 12:21PM
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@pokey reddoc

Oiler drafting hasn't been good lately, but the second guessing would drive me crazy.

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#67 The 'Real' Ron Burgundy
March 07 2010, 12:31PM
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@Dakin

I was just engaging to get another oilers fan's opinion on our team and players. Had I'd known that your love for Hemsky would not allow you to see some of the negative things about 83, i wouldnt have said anything.

But since you cant go back and forth about the Oilers with out making it personal... I'm done.

"*sigh* For the record, being one of "those guys" is a negative thing. Or to put it bluntly, someone who lacks basic reading comprehension sills. Let me break it down for you...."

*Pats Travis' High Horse on his way out*

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#68 Helmethead
March 07 2010, 12:45PM
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Am I the only one on the planet who thinks sending Eberle down to Springfield isn’t the best idea? The kid has had 2 strong training camps, played in some pre-season games so why not throw him in the lineup for 8-12 games? We all know the kid can play but let’s see what type of character he has while playing under some internal adversity.

If anything, it gives the Oiler brass a chance to asses him and his effectiveness while being in a toxic environment. Give him sparing minutes, in a fill in role, in certain situations. If Eberle contributes offensively, fantastic; if not, what’s the harm? This “protective” mentality doesn’t help him with his long term development; it only shelters him from an already incredibly dysfunctional hockey club. It’s not like the Oil are going to play him 22 minutes a night for the remainder of the season. Set him up in situations where he can be successful, learn a few things and gain a lot of confidence going into training camp next season.

He’s already under contract for 1.18 million bucks (including this season) and for 2 more years so get some small return on the contract for this season. It’s not like the Oil are going to play him 22 minutes a night for the remainder of the season. Set him up in situations where he can be successful, possibly learn a few things and gain a lot of confidence going into training camp next season.

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#69 Chris.
March 07 2010, 01:08PM
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@rindog

The NHL is not a development league. The mess that is the Oiler franchise could serve as a case study for that fact.

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#70 Chris.
March 07 2010, 01:09PM
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Helmethead wrote:

Am I the only one on the planet who thinks sending Eberle down to Springfield isn’t the best idea? The kid has had 2 strong training camps, played in some pre-season games so why not throw him in the lineup for 8-12 games? We all know the kid can play but let’s see what type of character he has while playing under some internal adversity.

If anything, it gives the Oiler brass a chance to asses him and his effectiveness while being in a toxic environment. Give him sparing minutes, in a fill in role, in certain situations. If Eberle contributes offensively, fantastic; if not, what’s the harm? This “protective” mentality doesn’t help him with his long term development; it only shelters him from an already incredibly dysfunctional hockey club. It’s not like the Oil are going to play him 22 minutes a night for the remainder of the season. Set him up in situations where he can be successful, learn a few things and gain a lot of confidence going into training camp next season.

He’s already under contract for 1.18 million bucks (including this season) and for 2 more years so get some small return on the contract for this season. It’s not like the Oil are going to play him 22 minutes a night for the remainder of the season. Set him up in situations where he can be successful, possibly learn a few things and gain a lot of confidence going into training camp next season.

They won't play Eberle in more than 9 games either way... why not play him in Springfiled first to see if he merits a callup?

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#71 beevbo
March 07 2010, 01:29PM
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I'm not sure it's fair to say that the environment in Springfield is not a good one. I know the team isn't winning, but unless Jonathan Willis has an insider source from the locker room, I'd say that statement is sort of unfair.

As I understand it, Rob Daum is well regarded as a coach and very well may have a good locker room for his players, despite the losses. But really, the point is we just don't know either way.

I agree with Willis on every other point, though.

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#72 Travis Dakin
March 07 2010, 01:41PM
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The 'Real' Ron Burgundy wrote:

@Dakin

I was just engaging to get another oilers fan's opinion on our team and players. Had I'd known that your love for Hemsky would not allow you to see some of the negative things about 83, i wouldnt have said anything.

But since you cant go back and forth about the Oilers with out making it personal... I'm done.

"*sigh* For the record, being one of "those guys" is a negative thing. Or to put it bluntly, someone who lacks basic reading comprehension sills. Let me break it down for you...."

*Pats Travis' High Horse on his way out*

I'm sorry if I hurt your feelings. I just assumed that to be an oiler fan you had to be open to reason and logic. I spelled something out in plain simple English and you jumped at me because you either a) didn't read what I wrote, or b) didn't understand what I wrote. That's not the kind of engaging that fosters intelligent debate.

Quite obviously I am aware that Hemsky has faults for you see, if he had none, there would be no need to ask which other players would have to go with him to be worth a 2nd over-all pick.

Again, to summarize: Hemsky is NOT worth that pick alone but perhaps him with some other assets might get the bruins to forget about future planning and go for broke now? Who would that take?

Nothing personal here friend, just asking from on Oilers fan to another that you please spend more time reading what is written before you lash out.

Now if you'll excuse me, I need to go find a bigger ladder to climb back on my horse.

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#73 dunciano
March 07 2010, 04:25PM
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Chris. wrote:

The NHL is not a development league. The mess that is the Oiler franchise could serve as a case study for that fact.

Amen

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#74 dunciano
March 07 2010, 04:28PM
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Good decision to start him in AHL.

The last thing you want is to start in NHL and then send him down.

Start him there and if he plays well, bring him up for 9 games. That would be a boost to his confidence.

It would be a good management of this player.

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#75 Wanyes bastard child
March 07 2010, 04:32PM
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@Travis Dakin

I have a pair of 4 foot stilts you can use if you want ;)

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#76 dwayne
March 07 2010, 08:54PM
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Does no one listen to the guy saying that effects his entry level contract! Make him work for it going to springfield won't hurt him. Maybe Eberle will take one look around down there and work his ass off so he doesn't have to go back! Next we can't be worse than this year...we are last you idiot! Bunch of nay sayers! Any pick in the top 2 of the draft is going to be great and we are guaranteed that.

Good win tonight on a positive note and I still love the oilers so up yours!

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#77 rindog
March 07 2010, 10:20PM
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@Chris.

The Oilers job is too choose the BEST way to develop their prospects regardless of where that is.

IMO - I don't think subjecting him to the gong show in Springfield is as helpful as letting him go up against actual NHL players (that are still playing for something).

It is not the same as rushing a first year player (ie. Gagenr or Cogliano at he start of a fresh NHL season).

If Eberle plays up here to finish the season and does well, it might help in assessing his spot for next year.

If he doesn't do so well this year and then has an average training camp - it might make the decision to keep in the minors an easier one?

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#80 Bucknuck
March 08 2010, 11:10AM
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Petr's Jofa wrote:

Oiler drafting hasn't been good lately, but the second guessing would drive me crazy.

What do you consider "lately"? The last few years have been pretty good IMO.

Ninimaki was 8 years ago and that was the last forehead slap I remember. Don't even bring up Zach Parise, 24 other teams ALSO passed on him (besides that was 7 years ago).

Lots of oiler draft picks have been making it to the NHL and playing vital roles. Every team will have a few busts, but I think the oil have been faring quite well.

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#81 Lebowski
March 08 2010, 11:51AM
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Bucknuck: To quibble, 16 teams passed on Parise. Oilers passed on him and Getzlaf and Perry and Burns and Kesler and Richards and Weber.

And essentially the Oilers still have the same scouting staff in place from 8 years ago.

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#82 Bucknuck
March 08 2010, 12:20PM
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Lebowski wrote:

Bucknuck: To quibble, 16 teams passed on Parise. Oilers passed on him and Getzlaf and Perry and Burns and Kesler and Richards and Weber.

And essentially the Oilers still have the same scouting staff in place from 8 years ago.

Thanks for the update. I should have checked my facts - for some reason I thought they grabbed him 25th. I can't fault them picking Pouliot with the data they had at the time. At the time I was happy they didn't get another shrimpy speedy guy (like Steve Kelly), since there was some speculation on Parise.

If you are going to count Ninimaki then you had better count the previous year where they got Hemsky. Ilya Kovalchuk and Jason Spezza (picks 1 & 2) are the only ones better than Hemmer. There are 10 teams kicking themselves in that year. Any draft you are going to find some gems that come late that lots of teams passed on.

If you assume a 12 year average playing career, and a 23 person roster, then your average annual NHL player turnover is two players a year. If your scouting staff is scouting two NHL calibre players every year then I don't think you have that much reason to complain.

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#83 Benhur
March 08 2010, 04:09PM
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What the H! Give us a break! Put him in the lineup for the Oilers. If he has it he will show it and if he doesn't put him in the AHL for next season. I don't understand them wanting to "protect" him. There has been many 19 year olds that have made a seamless if not spectacular debut to the NHL.

Give Jordan and the coaching staff a chance to show / evaluate his ability.

Come on!!!!

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