January 07 2012 09:49AM
Jordan Eberle can't fly (despite appearances) but beyond that there appear to be few limitations. Eberle's importance to this edition of the Edmonton Oilers impacts the team on and off the ice.
The young man from Regina is more than a sublime passer and crazy-good goal scorer, he's a man well respected in his peer group. Part of it no doubt is his fame gained from WJ tournaments, but beyond that he's a little older than the other impact kids and someone who could emerge as a team leader over time. Eberle is also well spoken and projects a maturity well beyond his years in interviews.
Eberle's value on the ice is massive, and his strong first half this season establishes him as one of the quality youngsters in the NHL. Eberle could be a key player for the Oilers off the ice as well. Should the Oilers sign Eberle to a long term deal that buys several free agent seasons (this is down the line, Ebs entry level deal expires next summer and then he'll have a contract after that one to get him near free agency) and get Taylor Hall's deal done at the same or similar time, this train could run through the end of the decade and beyond.
Oiler fans know the history: NO Oiler great has spent his entire career in the orange (or copper) and blue. I'm clearly getting ahead of myself but these things take time to plan and execute. Jordan Eberle is emerging as a top flight talent this season and it's reasonable that he's also emerging as a leader among the young set (being a little older),
Future captain? Long term contract? I think it's reasonable to suggest these things are possible if Eberle continues to be so productive on the ice and such a strong presence off the ice. He's an emerging leader, even has his own TV commercial.
WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?
We're projecting into the future, but I don't think it's outside reasonable to suggest Eberle is in fact influential in that group of young Oilers. The idea that this group stays together and gets things done in Edmonton has enormous appeal to Oiler fans (especially those of us who remember men like Coffey and Arnott leaving far too early) and the CBA offers the Oilers and these players a world that has less friction that the boys on the bus endured in the 80s.
I'm hopeful this bunch hangs around for a decade, and Jordan Eberle could be a key part of the equation.
Nation Radio hits the airwaves this afternoon at noon Edmonton time on Team 1260. We're up against the Oiler broadcast so I should also mention the archive will be available at the Nations sites in the next day or so. Guests scheduled to appear:
- Todd Nelson, head coach for the OKC Barons. I'll ask him about Hartikainen's progress between being sent down and recalled, and we'll look over the roster and ask some questions about other Oiler prospects on the farm. Feel free to post questions and I promise to answer them.
- James Mirtle from the Globe and Mail. Mirtle hit the internet with a combination of curiosity, integrity and a gift for writing. He's a straight shooter and I look forward to talking to him today.
- Dennis King posts his scoring chances at MC's site but he's a national treasure for Oiler fans. I got a lot of questions after his last visit so we're bringing him back to discuss the Oilers, Oilers management, Edmonton media and if we have time we'll get his opinion of the Outdorr classic and its future.
- Kent Wilson is improving the reputation of Flames bloggers one well written article at a time. We'll take about Mr. Iginla's journey to 500 goals and the promised land of NHL hockey, and discuss Jay Feaster's spring.
- JP Nikota is one of the Pension Plan Puppets fine minds, and we'll talk about Burke, Wilson, Phaneuf and the saga of Colton Orr.
Questions are always welcome, you can post them here or email firstname.lastname@example.org or @ItsNationRadio or Lowetide_ on twitter. Hope you can tune in.