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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#1 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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#2 Moop
March 06 2010, 06:41PM
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The Real Scuba Steve wrote:

Yea... Why give something for the fans to cheer for this season, doom and gloom, the new mandate for the Oil.

If it turns out to be better for Eberle's development in the long run, I don't mind keeping him in the minors while we suffer through this gongshow of a season.

EDIT: Beaten to the punch :(

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#3 Tha Legion
March 06 2010, 08:31PM
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Think I'll watch some Springfield webcasts

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#4 Serious Gord
March 06 2010, 09:16PM
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And they shouldn't bring him or our pick up next season except sparingly.

The odds of this team getting a sniff at the playoffs next year is remote at best.

It is better we do not eat our seed corn like we have done with so many of our young prospects in the past (gagne et al) but rather let them get lots of ice time with weaker opponents so as to build confidence and learn their game.

Then in a couple of years they can hit the ice as full-time oilers able to contribute at their fullest when hopefully the rest of the team has been re-tooled and is ready for them.

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#5 Jaime
March 06 2010, 09:21PM
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@jeanshorts

Better make that 1 Tyler Seguin Plymouth Whalers 105 2 Jordan Eberle Regina Pats 102 3. Taylor Hall Windsor Spitfires 100

Eberle had a four assist night.

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#6 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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#7 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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#8 Brandon
March 06 2010, 08:37PM
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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.

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#9 The 'Real' Ron Burgundy
March 06 2010, 09:29PM
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@Dakin

Explain what Hemsky has actually done lately to warrant being worth that pick, other than helping his buddy Horc laugh all the way to the bank! There is no way the bruins give up that pick, esp for a oft injured Hemsky and a grossly under-achieving Cogliano.

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#10 Travis Dakin
March 06 2010, 09:42PM
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The 'Real' Ron Burgundy wrote:

@Dakin

Explain what Hemsky has actually done lately to warrant being worth that pick, other than helping his buddy Horc laugh all the way to the bank! There is no way the bruins give up that pick, esp for a oft injured Hemsky and a grossly under-achieving Cogliano.

Oh you're one of THOSE guys eh? Ok, I said, "Hemsky and what else would get that number 2 pick?"

Why would I have to explain to you what Hemsky has done (besides lead this team in scoring every year at almost a point a game pace with a fantastic contract) to warrant being worthy of that pick?

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 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.

But thanks for your two cents there Cheech.

And for the record, helping Horcoff laugh all the way to the bank also helped this team get to game 7 of the Stanley cup final. Horcoff got that deal on the basis of a 73 point season and over a point a game clip the next year before injury hit while playing with Hemsky..... Sounds like a valuable player to me. Oh and he's only 26 too!

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#11 The 'Real' Ron Burgundy
March 07 2010, 12:42AM
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@Dakin

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.

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.

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

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.

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#12 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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#13 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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#14 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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#15 The Real Scuba Steve
March 06 2010, 06:31PM
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Yea... Why give something for the fans to cheer for this season, doom and gloom, the new mandate for the Oil.

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#17 Red Deerian Convert
March 06 2010, 06:49PM
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+1

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#18 Robin Brownlee
March 06 2010, 06:50PM
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I don't know how much of a surprise this is. I never heard anybody from the Oilers suggest the team was leaning toward having Eberle finish the season in the NHL.

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#20 Archaeologuy
March 06 2010, 07:06PM
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I get the decision, I have no major complaint about it. At the very least it might keep Rob Daum from losing his marbles down in Springfield.

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#21 jeanshorts
March 06 2010, 07:14PM
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1 Taylor Hall Windsor Spitfires 100 2 Tyler Seguin Plymouth Whalers 99 3 Jordan Eberle Regina Pats 97

We're going to have 2 of the top 3 Jr players in our system next year. BONER!

And if we've learned anything this year, it's that Tambo is easily the most patient man on earth. I bet if he caught his wife cheating on him he'd sit there and be like "Well, I'm just going to sit back and wait to see if she keeps doing it or if she stops". What I'm really trying to get at is if we see Eberle on the big club by 2015 we should be happy.

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#22 libbers
March 06 2010, 07:39PM
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Went to a season ticket meeting this morning and Tambo was asked about bringing Eberle up and he said absolutely not because of the toxic dressing room, didn't want him exposed to it. He stressed that we need to bring him in to a positive situation that is moving forward where he can be successful and not to appease the crowds.

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#23 Wanye
March 06 2010, 07:40PM
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OH GREAT.

Gods forbid we have even the smallest thing to actually look forward to this season.

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#24 Rob...
March 06 2010, 08:01PM
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I'm betting Springfield has players that are known for retaliating against the other team's talent if theirs gets messed with. Until the Oilers get similar people Springfield is the best/safest place for him.

~Do you think Dave Manson would be willing to come out of retirement? He could just sit on the bench until needed.~

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#25 Banger
March 06 2010, 08:04PM
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Smart move in my books. Could you imagine if it was Eberle last night that took the knee from booger? Not saying something bad cant happen in the AHL but i think everyone would agree that this team isnt going to be fixed in one day so let the young guys grow in the minors.

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#26 dragon
March 06 2010, 08:06PM
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good call. i can see some vets moving over the summer and the dressing room becoming more....welcoming in september.

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#27 Nate Full of Hate
March 06 2010, 08:11PM
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Perhaps Eberle can re-create his major for Team Canada at the World Championships ala J. Toews ???

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#28 tlbest99
March 06 2010, 08:13PM
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sorry willy...you're wrong on this, we are talking a couple games here not a season and certainly not a playoff run...there are a couple of kids in colorado, a d man in buffalo that are to " young " to play in this league as well by your logic and they seem to be doing just fine on playoff caliber teams....and to state the pendergast as a credible authority on this is a joke, the only organziation currently being run worse then edmonton is springfield.....like wayne says above, heaven forbid we give the ticket buyers a small favor after this season of crap.....wtf is he going to learn playing for a last place ahl team......

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#29 Wanye
March 06 2010, 08:13PM
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libbers wrote:

Went to a season ticket meeting this morning and Tambo was asked about bringing Eberle up and he said absolutely not because of the toxic dressing room, didn't want him exposed to it. He stressed that we need to bring him in to a positive situation that is moving forward where he can be successful and not to appease the crowds.

Interesting. Did he actually utter the words "toxic dressing room?" I'd have laughed heartily to have read that.

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#30 Bryzarro World
March 06 2010, 08:13PM
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Jonathan Willis wrote:

@ Robin Brownlee:

No, I suppose it was mostly it was just fan speculation that he'd get an NHL cameo.

Widespread speculation, but speculation all the same.

I'm a fan... never heard or speculated he would be in the NHL... most of my friends are fans... same goes for them. Why in the hell would you bring him up around this garbage? It's bad enough he goin to Springfiend.

You sure it wasn't just you?

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#31 skoalpatrol
March 06 2010, 08:33PM
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are the falcons games streamed online somewhere? id like to see what eberle can do in the A when he comes up

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#32 jeanshorts
March 06 2010, 08:37PM
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skoalpatrol wrote:

are the falcons games streamed online somewhere? id like to see what eberle can do in the A when he comes up

I watched part of their game last night on ATDHE.net before the Oilers game. And they got scored on within 10 seconds of me watching. I'm sure the dressing room down there is way less "toxic" than the Oilers room, what with being last place in the AHL and all.

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#33 jeanshorts
March 06 2010, 08:49PM
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@Brandon

Come on, he spent 2 whole years (maybe 3) in Calgary. CLEARLY he's their claim to fame now.

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#34 Brandon
March 06 2010, 08:52PM
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@jeanshorts

clearly... *curses all that is Calgary under his breath*

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#35 Travis Dakin
March 06 2010, 09:09PM
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jeanshorts wrote:

1 Taylor Hall Windsor Spitfires 100 2 Tyler Seguin Plymouth Whalers 99 3 Jordan Eberle Regina Pats 97

We're going to have 2 of the top 3 Jr players in our system next year. BONER!

And if we've learned anything this year, it's that Tambo is easily the most patient man on earth. I bet if he caught his wife cheating on him he'd sit there and be like "Well, I'm just going to sit back and wait to see if she keeps doing it or if she stops". What I'm really trying to get at is if we see Eberle on the big club by 2015 we should be happy.

I hate doing this but... Hemsky and what else would get that number 2 pick? hmmm..... I'd say Hemsky, Cogliano and some throw ins... God I feel dirty now.

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#36 OilFan
March 06 2010, 09:23PM
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I figured they would bring him up for 5 games or so. But if not don't see the big deal. I just want to finish the season watching the games with out any injuries.

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#37 Tha Legion
March 06 2010, 09:26PM
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Travis Dakin wrote:

I hate doing this but... Hemsky and what else would get that number 2 pick? hmmm..... I'd say Hemsky, Cogliano and some throw ins... God I feel dirty now.

I think Hemmer alone should be able to Facilitate the deal

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#38 David S
March 06 2010, 09:27PM
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tlbest99 wrote:

sorry willy...you're wrong on this, we are talking a couple games here not a season and certainly not a playoff run...there are a couple of kids in colorado, a d man in buffalo that are to " young " to play in this league as well by your logic and they seem to be doing just fine on playoff caliber teams....and to state the pendergast as a credible authority on this is a joke, the only organziation currently being run worse then edmonton is springfield.....like wayne says above, heaven forbid we give the ticket buyers a small favor after this season of crap.....wtf is he going to learn playing for a last place ahl team......

"...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.

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#39 Tha Legion
March 06 2010, 09:27PM
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Taken from Copper and Blue about Oil Trade Value 83 Ales Hemsky $4,100,000 2011-2012 UFA No Extremely high. Start with a lottery pick and add a younger roster defenseman and a high-end prospec

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#40 JohnQPublic
March 06 2010, 09:38PM
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I believe this to be a good move. You don't want a blue chip prospect in the current environment.

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#41 David S
March 06 2010, 09:50PM
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Walk away Travis. Walk away.

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#42 Travis Dakin
March 06 2010, 09:55PM
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David S wrote:

Walk away Travis. Walk away.

I just threw that sh*t down baby! Who's picking it up? No one? I thought so. Good night Nation... There will be no encore.

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#43 Tha Legion
March 06 2010, 09:59PM
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@Travis Dakin

Can't wait till this turn into a battle rap!!!! what? people don't do that anymore? dance off?

BALLS

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#44 rindog
March 06 2010, 10:30PM
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@Robin Brownlee

What makes management think that it would be any better exposing him to the sh!tshow in Springfield?

Why not let him play some games with guys like Gagner and Penner to see if there is any chemistry, etc?

If management has deemed these 20 games as a tryout for next season - wouldn't it make sense to let their best prospect tryout as well?

I don't think that it would hurt his development to finish out 9 games against NHL players. It would be better than trying to play a guessing game at the start of next season.

He would be able to see what areas of his game ar not NHL ready and can work on them over the summer.

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#45 David S
March 06 2010, 10:36PM
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Not sure if you noticed, but Penner has dialed it down ALOT in the last while. I wouldn't want a fresh faced kid full of enthusiasm in the room the way it must be right now. Lets let him get his feet wet a bit before we bring him down to earth more than he deserves.

Screw what the fans want for 20 games. Take good care of a kid that might be something the fans want to come see for years to come.

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#46 Archaeologuy
March 06 2010, 10:37PM
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@rindog

I wonder if there is a wrong answer in regards to the location of Eberle's 9 games. He plays against pros either way. He plays on a bad team with inadequate defense either way. Maybe the difference is that in the AHL he'll be in a room full of guys who are pushing to make it to the NHL instead of a group of complacent guys who are already in the NHL.

That's assuming the worst in the locker-room right now, but maybe that's the thinking.

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#47 rindog
March 06 2010, 10:43PM
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Archaeologuy wrote:

I wonder if there is a wrong answer in regards to the location of Eberle's 9 games. He plays against pros either way. He plays on a bad team with inadequate defense either way. Maybe the difference is that in the AHL he'll be in a room full of guys who are pushing to make it to the NHL instead of a group of complacent guys who are already in the NHL.

That's assuming the worst in the locker-room right now, but maybe that's the thinking.

Or he can watch actual NHL players up close and see the little things they do to keep themselves where they are. He can go up against the best and see where he stacks up.

There won't be a ton of pressure because everyone knows how depleted the line-up is. It would just be a great chance to see where his game is at while playing against "competitive NHL players" from other teams (not AHL hopefuls in preseason games).

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#48 Archaeologuy
March 06 2010, 10:53PM
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@rindog

I agree with all of your reasons to keep him in the NHL. I honestly dont have a strong opinion* one way or the other on this. I just dont know.

*That's a first.

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#49 David Staples
March 06 2010, 10:54PM
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I'd heard that Eberle had graded out in exhibition as one of the top Oilers forwards and didn't Quinn make some recent happy noises about the kid, so I was expecting him on the big team. Like you, Jonathan, I'm glad he's in the minors.

The seasoning should help him. And if he really is going to be good, hey, this team doesn't need good right now, it needs losses ;)

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#50 RossCreekNation
March 06 2010, 10:57PM
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Tha Legion wrote:

Taken from Copper and Blue about Oil Trade Value 83 Ales Hemsky $4,100,000 2011-2012 UFA No Extremely high. Start with a lottery pick and add a younger roster defenseman and a high-end prospec

LOLZ

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