EBERLE THE NEW GAGNER?

Jason Gregor
August 01 2012 01:04PM

I don't know Jordan Eberle very well.

During the past two years I've chatted with him casually in the dressing room, interviewed him and did a few charitable events together, but I won't claim that I really know him. We aren't friends on facebook, which is clearly the foundation to a tight friendship in 2012, and we've never gone for dinner. However, I am surprised that after finishing tied for 15th in scoring last year that his production has become a lightning rod amongst some bloggers.

Things I don't know about him:

  • His favourite colour.
  • Where he lives.
  • What he drives.
  • His favourite band or app.
  • How many goals he'll score next year.
  • How many goals he'll score in his career.

Things I know about him:

  • He has excellent hockey sense.
  • He's a crappy putter, RT Got beat by in match play by 1 today. Made 40 putts and shot 85
  • He's a huge Riders Fan.
  • He likes to prank call teammates.
  • He's extremely competitive, "Ebs is more competitive than me. He was always the small kid growing up and he's had to work for everything. He hates losing, and he feels like he always has to prove himself, which is why he's so good." Taylor Hall on Eberle.
  • He has never actually received a piece of Wanye's hair.
     

Guys like Lowetide, Tyler Dellow and Jonathan Willis have written some interesting articles on #14.

Lowetide predicted he'll score 55 points this year. LT has been more accurate than most in past player predictions, and like most of us he's struck out on a few. LT doesn't wear Oiler-coloured glasses when he makes his picks, and he's usually very level-headed, unless you suggest Scarlett Johansson is only average looking, but I'll admit I was surprised he predicted this big of a drop for Eberle.

Dellow warned that he might be another Horcoff. Dellow has unearthed some pretty good stuff over the years, but keep in mind he likes stirring the pot like no other. A subtle, "he might be the next Horcoff," is a perfect angle to send Oiler fans into a rage. His point that Oiler management needs to be leery of overpaying a player is extremely valid, but is Eberle a possibility to be a one-trick pony like Horcoff, I don't see it.

Willis asked how many goals will Eberle score next year? Great topic, because no one truly knows. Willis picked 26. Like Lowetide he expected Eberle to dip. Eberle's SH% seemed to be the main reason. It is logical to suggest he won't match his 18.9% total from last year. But isn't it also logical to suggest that he will shoot the puck more next year?

Eberle fired only 180 shots last year, the fewest of any player who scored at least 30 goals. In fact, Bobby Ryan was the only other 30-goal man with less than 210 shots, he had 204. In his four NHL seasons Ryan has scored 31 goals on 174 shots, 35 on 258, 34 on 270 and 31 on 204. He's been all over the map.

Eberle also played only 17:35. He averaged one shot for every 7:30 of icetime (roughly). I'm going to assume his icetime will go up, and likely so will his shot totals. I agree his SH% will dip, but I'm not certain that means a massive dip in his goal totals.

If he plays 19 minutes a game and averages the same shot shots-per-minutes, he could pot 32 goals on 210 shots for a 15.2 SH%. If he scores 33 on 210 shots he's at 15.7% and if he matches 34 he's at 16.2%.

Scoring 30 goals in consecutive seasons is harder that it sounds. Only seven players have scored 30+ goals in each of the last four years.

Jarome Iginla: Has done it 11 straight years.
Ilya Kovalchuk: 10 consecutive seasons.
Alex Ovechkin: Seven straight years.
Rick Nash: Five years.
Patrick Marleau, Bobby Ryan and Phil Kessel: Four years.

In the last four years only 28 players have managed to score 30+ goals twice.

Vanek, Toews, E. Staal, St. Louis, Spezza, Semin, M. Richards, Malkin, Heatley, Hartnell, Gaborik, Couture and Backes did it twice.

Stamkos, D. Sedin, Perry, Parise, Moulson, Crosby and Carter did it three times.

It isn't a lock that Eberle will bury 30, but if Nugent-Hopkins doesn't miss 20 games I'd take the bet Eberle will score 30. He'll have more icetime, more shots, and with 20 more games with RNH likely a few better passes.

INTANGIBLES

The other aspect I can't overlook when looking at Eberle is his inner drive.

His willingness to want to win and be a key contributor is the main reason why I believe he'll be a 30-goal man.

I know you can't chart determination, drive, heart, desire or leadership, but Eberle has all of that. I know some stats guys mock the "I saw argument," but downplaying it is just as idiotic as those who suggest stats have no value. Both have value, and neither is completely accurate.

When ATB chose Eberle as their spokesperson they did it after lots of research on his character. You'd be surprised how many people they spoke with to try and determine if Eberle was the right guy to use as their frontman. Of course his on -ice ability was a factor, but so was his character.

If you talk to anyone who has been around Eberle since his days in Regina, most will rave about his personality as much as his ability. Steve Serdachny, Oilers skills and skating coach, said Eberle is one of the most dedicated-to-his-trade players he’s worked with. He doesn’t say that about every player, and like a parent, Serdachny isn’t supposed to have favourites. He was just speaking honestly about Eberle’s desire to improve his game.

I'm not sure what to make of the fact that in the past six months, Eberle is near, or surpassed, Sam Gagner is terms of the debate over his ability.

It is easy to look at Eberle and assume his point totals will dip, the odds suggest they will, but that isn't a sign he's suddenly not a key player.

In 2011only 14 players had 76 points or more.

In 2012 Eberle was one of 17 to have 76+ points.

Only three players: Stamkos, Giroux and H. Sedin had 76 both seasons. Going off that it is unlikely that Eberle will match his point totals of last year, that isn't a new revelation, but I don't think it is a sign that he's a one-trick pony.

When I look up and down the Oiler roster, Eberle is one of the few players who doesn't have a multitude of question marks beside his name. Will he be healthy? Will he finally produce? Will he compete? Those are serious questions that we can fairly and accurately ask about many players on the roster, but not Eberle.

I'm surprised he's become a name many have thrown around as trade bait for a defender, or that he's peaked in his 2nd season.

Eberle was the only legitimate success story on the Oilers last year. He never went more than three games without a point, and his longest goal drought was the first seven games of the season. He was consistent all season, and on a team filled with inconsistent players, or players who have yet to accept their role on the team, Eberle is the one player I wouldn't be concerned about.

I'm a tad perplexed as to why the most successful player on the Oiler is the one being questioned the most? 

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One of Canada's most versatile sports personalities. Jason hosts The Jason Gregor Show, weekdays from 2 to 6 p.m., on TSN 1260, and he writes a column every Monday in the Edmonton Journal. You can follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/JasonGregor
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#1 Quicksilver ballet
August 01 2012, 01:06PM
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That could be an insult to Jordan Eberle.

Could we trade Gagner and move Eberle to center?

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#2 A Big Deal
August 01 2012, 01:18PM
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Eberle will get more points this season.

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#3 Jasmine
August 01 2012, 01:20PM
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Delow is also the guy who said they should send Hall back to junior to save money.

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#4 Maro12
August 01 2012, 01:23PM
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Finally, someone else who is on the same page as my thoughts on eberle. I often think these bloggers just look at numbers and dont actually watch the game with their eyes. Eberle is a pure goal scorer. He doesn't waste his shots by dumping it on net. He will drive to the slot or toe drag and go top cheese. Most of his goals were pure snipes. With the Nuge dishing cross ice passes, how could poeple think reaching 30 is unattainable?

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#5 OilFanInYYC
August 01 2012, 01:24PM
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Not saying that Eberle isn't going to regress but I am reminded of the 2001-02 when everyone called Jarome Iginla a one trick pony as well. Sure his point totals did regress but he has shown that his "Cinderella" year was not a fluke. I guess only time will tell with Eberle.

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#6 steelymac
August 01 2012, 01:25PM
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I dont care if his numbers drop a bit.When the meaningfull game is on the line the guy is "MONEY"and for that reson alone the few that would trade him for a dman should take a long hard thought on that.I love the passion of fellow OIL fans but we can be quick to run guys out of town.My biggest concern is that the young guys can stay healthy.

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#7 Oil Fan in Ottawa
August 01 2012, 01:27PM
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People are questioning him because they haven't seen him play in over 3 months and have forgotten what he looks like out there. Kids got sick mitts and one of the best wristers in the game today, he'll be just fine.

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#8 Sloppy Joe
August 01 2012, 01:27PM
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Splitting hairs for a minute:

- I have never read Lowetide's RE series to be actual predictions of how many points a player will score, but rather drawing a line in the sand and saying, "when we evaluate this guy at at the end of the season, this is a reasonable barometer for how he did." The distinction is subtle but is there nonetheless - i.e. LT might predict Eberle will pot 70 points while contemporaneously thinking that the reasonable expectation from him should be 55.

I raise this only because you state that Lowetide has "predicted" 55. I also note that Staples had an article yesterday where he said Lowetide "predicted" 55 versus Staples' sixty-something.

Readers (including LT) - please feel free to correct me if my head is up my ____.

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#9 BurkeTheTurd
August 01 2012, 01:31PM
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@ Jason

Out of the guys with same point totals or better, any the same age or younger than Eberle? Just makes no sense to doubt this kid. Let a good thing be a good thing.

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#10 BurkeTheTurd
August 01 2012, 01:33PM
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@ Jason

Out of the guys with same point totals or better, any the same age or younger than Eberle? Just makes no sense to doubt this kid. Let a good thing be a good thing.

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#11 admiralmark
August 01 2012, 01:37PM
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Oiler Bloggers + fans that think Eberle's season was an abbarition= 2% of the Oilernation.

Put it in a poll and see how the numbers wash out? I suspect they would be quite different then what your hearing from Willis, Dellow and Lowetide.

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#12 Cody anderson
August 01 2012, 01:38PM
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I love Ebs, and like many people I want to see him as a long term Oiler playing here when games are on the line. He has truly earned the nickname clutch and he is one of those people that wants the puck when the game is on the line.

I understand a lot of people think it will be impossible to keep everyone and some thinking that you cannot win a cup without a legit superstar defenceman like Pronger, Niedermeyer, Lidstrom, or Weber.

If you were of the camp and thought we had no chance without a big name Dman, and the only way to get that big name Dman is by trading one of your own big name players....then it is understandable to think Eberle is your best trading chip. Looking at the numbers it is likely he will regress. He may have just had a career year and his trade value would be through the roof right now.

Most people love Eberle, but do not think he has the same potential as Nuge, Hall, or Yakupov through draft pedigree and NHLE numbers alone. yak is unproven so he would not have the same value. If i was forced to trade one of Hall, Nuge or Eberle there is no dount as much as it would hurt I would end up trading Eberle.

I for one, think our D is coming along nicely. It is probably a year or 2 behind the forwards but still not bad. I think you can win with a D by committee, and I would be very hesitant to trade one of our big names unless it becomes clear one is not a fit in the room or it becomes a reality that you cannot keep them all.

If we are fiscally responsible (not awarding Eberle 8 million/yr for 10 years based on one spectacular year) I think it is possible to keep the core of the team in tact. I would not shop offers on Eberle, and would want it clear that we are not entertaining the thought of trading any of our stars. It would have to be a huge overpay for me to consider a trade.

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#13 Jonathan Willis
August 01 2012, 01:39PM
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I think that's a pretty reasonable and level-headed take, Jason, but I'd like to just touch on a few points.

1) The notion that Eberle may have peaked. I don't think Eberle has peaked as a player, but based on the number of things that went right for him (most prominently SH%, and carefully managed ice-time thanks to his job riding shotgun for RNH) I do wonder if his level of offensive production is sustainable. With young players there's a tendency to assume that there's nothing but growth in their future and NHL history suggests that isn't true. Let me point to two examples, a pair of players who have had great careers and could play for my team any day: Eric Staal and Ryan Smyth.

Stall scored 45 goals and 100 points as a sophomore. Like Eberle, he had a high shooting percentage (16.1%) and like Eberle he had relatively favourable matchups - Carolina liked to use the Brind'Amour line against the toughs and tried to get the Staal line out in scoring situations whenever possible.

Staal's since been relied on as a true number one centre, playing tough opponents and getting less easy sledding. His shooting percentage has dipped and he's never scored more than 82 points in a season since. I'd argue he's a better player today than he was in 2005-06, but changes in role and a dip in SH% has kept his offensive totals down.

Ryan Smyth scored a career-high 39 goals in his second NHL season and 61 points. I can't speak for the minutes he played that year, but I can see he had an awfully high shooting percentage that subsequently dipped. I don't doubt that he continued to develop as a player - and after a few years of less stellar totals, his overall offensive game came back - but it wasn't smooth sailing and he still hasn't matched that goals total.

I think of Eberle in the same way. I think he'll be better as a player - he's flashed impressive two-way instincts over his first two years - but I also see a lot of things that went right, and wonder how a change in role will impact his offensive totals. In a nutshell: I tend to think his play will improve, but the point totals may not reflect that.

2) Eberle as a trade option. I tend to think this is more about the Oilers' team needs and perceived player value than it is about Eberle.

The Oilers have Hall, Eberle and Yakupov in the system. A few years back, each of those guys would have been untouchable - each could be a franchise cornerstone in his own right. But now, the Oilers have one elite guy up the middle, none on defense, and three on the wings - it's only natural to wonder if the team's long-term interest is best served by moving one of Hall, Eberle or Yakupov for a defender.

The question is which one? In any trade, ideally you send away the guy with the highest perceived value relative to his actual talent. Yakupov, who hasn't played in the NHL yet, might be that guy down the road but for now he's a) Russian and b) unproven in the majors, both of which make his trade value less than the other two guys. It would make no sense to deal him now.

That leaves Hall and Eberle. I think both players are excellent. If I had to trade one, I think the vote for Eberle is that he's older and already has a big goal-scoring season (which may or may not be repeatable in the short-term) and the vote for Hall is the injury risk. There are other factors - the off-ice things you've mentioned, happiness in Edmonton, size and physical game, etc. - but those are the big two.

I'm not here arguing that any of the three elite wingers should be dealt, but if the opportunity exists to land a franchise defender, and there's an abundance of high-end talent on the wings, I think it's something the team needs to consider. Any trade involving any of those three would be a ballsy, high-risk move, but it might be in the team's best interests long-term.

In any case, I don't think anyone's saying 'Trade Eberle now!' I think it's more of a 'it might make sense to trade one of these high-end wingers for a high-end defenseman, and of the three Eberle has better trade value than Yakupov and is smaller/plays less of a bull in a china-shop game than Hall.'

Sorry for the length of my reply.

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#14 Spydyr
August 01 2012, 01:39PM
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yah is is exactly the same as Gagner, except:

He is a better skater He has a better shot. He has better hockey sense. He is harder to knock of the puck. He has better on ice vision. He has more talent. He scores in the clutch.

Otherwise exactly the same player.

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#15 Shifty
August 01 2012, 01:43PM
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Someone actually suggested using him as trade bait??? Wow..... I'm at a loss of words for that one.

If they had an expansion draft tommorrow, and decided you could only protect one player on the team, he would be the hands down easy choice for me. He is far and above the most complete player on the team, as far as the total of all aspects of playing, and is only starting his 3rd season.

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#16 Robin Brownlee
August 01 2012, 01:43PM
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I've been thinking the same thing, Jason.

Eberle's shootng percentage likely will drop off, but that will be mitigated by more ice time, a healthy RNH and, it can be reasonably expected, a team that scores more goals as a whole.

I see Eberle, assuming he plays 75-82 games, being right around the 70-point mark again. I don't think 76 points early in his career necessarily means he'll become a consistent 85-point guy, but I also don't see last season -- and a future range of 65-75 points yearly -- as a one-off.

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#17 Jonathan Willis
August 01 2012, 01:45PM
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@OilFanInYYC

That's actually a pretty good example. Iginla set highs in both goals (52) and shooting percentage (16.7%) in 2001-02 that he hasn't matched since.

He scored 35 goals in 2002-03 and in the nine seasons since has scored 32-43 goals eight times, hitting 50 once again in 2007-08.

Edit to add: The drop-off for Iginla was just a hair under one-third; the equivalent drop-off for Eberle would put him at 23 goals (three less than my prediction).

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#18 Jonathan Willis
August 01 2012, 01:48PM
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@admiralmark

Like that poll in 2009 where 80% of fans here at OilersNation were thrilled with the Khabibulin signing?

As much as individuals are far from infallible - I've made my share of misses, as has pretty much everybody here - fans as a whole don't get things right all the time either.

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#19 dessert1111
August 01 2012, 01:54PM
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Thanks for the post Jason. I've been getting very frustrated reading many of the articles about Eberle lately and feel like it has snowballed from "Is Eberle's SP sustainable?" to "We haven't we traded him for a defenseman?!". Hopefully the oilogosphere calms down about this--it's bizarre that a fan-base seems so incredibly adamant about debating the hypothetical of trading the guy who has been their top scorer the past two years (his first two in the league, mind you) and has been a breath of fresh air on night when no one else on the team could get anything going.

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#20 OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F
August 01 2012, 01:59PM
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Lots of goal scores actually see peak scoring at 22-24 and then start to see numbers drop quite quickly from there.

It's suprisingly resonable to think this might have been Eberle's career year.

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#21 OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F
August 01 2012, 02:05PM
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Also, I think if one of the top 5ish Dmen under 25 were offerd up in a trade for Eberle, it would be pretty hard to turn down.

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#22 Robin Brownlee
August 01 2012, 02:05PM
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dessert1111 wrote:

Thanks for the post Jason. I've been getting very frustrated reading many of the articles about Eberle lately and feel like it has snowballed from "Is Eberle's SP sustainable?" to "We haven't we traded him for a defenseman?!". Hopefully the oilogosphere calms down about this--it's bizarre that a fan-base seems so incredibly adamant about debating the hypothetical of trading the guy who has been their top scorer the past two years (his first two in the league, mind you) and has been a breath of fresh air on night when no one else on the team could get anything going.

Building and sustaining a real hockey team requires more than running numbers and making moves because those moves can be shown to be statistically reasonable.

Like Jason, I don't know Eberle well outside the confines of the ongoing interview process as part of the job, but I know he has elite skill, is competitive as hell and has the respect of everybody I've talked to in the Oilers dressing room.

A drop-off in shooting percentage? I'll live with that.

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#23 baggedmilk
August 01 2012, 02:13PM
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The Oilers could win the Stanley Cup and the fans would still complain about something.

In the days of blogging, these guys are looking for traffic and the right to say "I told you so" - JSBM included.

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#24 Schmidty66
August 01 2012, 02:17PM
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Not sure who is questioning his ability. First I have heard or read about it.(not that that mean`s anything) Perhaps it is the Edmonton sports reporters trying to stir the pot during the dog days of summer. To trade Eberle would be a huge mistake for the Oiler's he is one of the hardest working most passionate players we have and very close to most if not he most skilled forward we have. His quick release wrist shot is amazing and his back hand shot is even better. S.T. would be crazy to even think about moving him.

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#25 John Chambers
August 01 2012, 02:24PM
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Too much attention is paid to sh%, anomalies, and any other evidence that can point to a player's downside. We're all excited to call Tambellini an idiot and say that the re-build is a failure until we've acquired the next Nick Lidstrom an / or are hoisting the cup, but perhaps we should just be extremely happy with the personnel we have, and stop micro-tinkering with the good parts of the roster.

You may argue that one of the Oilers' fab 4 needs to be dealt to obtain a franchise defenseman, and that Eberle's stock may be at its highest but doing so ignores certain important intangibles such as:

1) Eberle doesn't have a history of injuries. 2) He's an extremely well-liked teammate and roommate of Taylor Hall 3) He's a Western Canadian, meaning he has a higher likelihood of wanting to sign here long-term 4) He's the only guy on the roster to both stay health and deliver consistently.

And some people think this is an optimal time to trade him. For a team who has been historically short on top-level talent, this line of thinking belongs in a video game, not in the real world.

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#26 OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F
August 01 2012, 02:26PM
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John Chambers wrote:

Too much attention is paid to sh%, anomalies, and any other evidence that can point to a player's downside. We're all excited to call Tambellini an idiot and say that the re-build is a failure until we've acquired the next Nick Lidstrom an / or are hoisting the cup, but perhaps we should just be extremely happy with the personnel we have, and stop micro-tinkering with the good parts of the roster.

You may argue that one of the Oilers' fab 4 needs to be dealt to obtain a franchise defenseman, and that Eberle's stock may be at its highest but doing so ignores certain important intangibles such as:

1) Eberle doesn't have a history of injuries. 2) He's an extremely well-liked teammate and roommate of Taylor Hall 3) He's a Western Canadian, meaning he has a higher likelihood of wanting to sign here long-term 4) He's the only guy on the roster to both stay health and deliver consistently.

And some people think this is an optimal time to trade him. For a team who has been historically short on top-level talent, this line of thinking belongs in a video game, not in the real world.

If you are getting a top level talent back then it's pretty resonable in the real world.

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#27 Cody anderson
August 01 2012, 02:35PM
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OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F wrote:

Also, I think if one of the top 5ish Dmen under 25 were offerd up in a trade for Eberle, it would be pretty hard to turn down.

I would hate to see Ebs go, but dealing from a position of strength it would be hard not to consider for a top 5 in the league Dman. In order for me to consider the Dman would have to be familiar with Alberta, want to play here, and be signed longterm to a reasonable contract.

Then I would agree anyone is tradeable in the right circumstance and that may very well be it.

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#28 Cody anderson
August 01 2012, 02:40PM
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@John Chambers

Very well said.

Team chemistry, and the desire to play here long term are major concerns when building a team.

It would not matter if you were able to trade Eberle for Weber. If Weber wanted out in a year we got our asses handed to us in the trade.

Plus it sends a message to our young core. If we tell them we are going to do our best to keep them together and surround them with the best supporting cast we can assemble you are much more likely to get team buy in and reasonable contracts rather than each of them demanding 10 million/yr

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#29 Cowbell_Feva
August 01 2012, 02:47PM
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If there was one young stud that we absolutely HAD to get rid of to get a high-end Dman it would be Taylor Hall.

Before you lose your sh*t, realize that he has been touted as the next best thing for 3 yrs now and has had 3 major surgeries. Could be a bad shoulder, could be a bad ankle. Could be in line for hair plugs like Rob Brown, either way, his trade value could be at an all-time high right now. (Although I hope management can keep them all and aquire a top 2 Dman soon)

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#30 madjam
August 01 2012, 02:52PM
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No Eberle is not the next Gagner - he's better. His totals will continue to rise if Hall and Hopkins and possibly Yakupov stay healthier this season . Gagner's numbers should also rise playing with those fellows if he remains here . Scoring title might be in reach for a couple of them next season .

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#31 Quicksilver ballet
August 01 2012, 02:52PM
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Hopefully nobody tells Jordan Eberle what happened last yr was unsustainable/or a fluke. To fall from grace this fast like Jordan has here, must be a record of some sorts, even in Edmonton.

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#32 OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F
August 01 2012, 03:00PM
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madjam wrote:

No Eberle is not the next Gagner - he's better. His totals will continue to rise if Hall and Hopkins and possibly Yakupov stay healthier this season . Gagner's numbers should also rise playing with those fellows if he remains here . Scoring title might be in reach for a couple of them next season .

I guess you didn't read the article, eh?

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#33 OILER86
August 01 2012, 03:00PM
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This is much ado about NOTHING! Eberle is going to be just fine and is one of the most promising Oilers in a looong time. Who gives 2 drops of piss about Iginlas stats from 10+ yrs ago....too much number crunching and stat bending on this site sometimes. I know we`re in the dog days of summer now but this is ridiculous. Media driven b.s. trying to sell papers and get website hits....

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#34 AutoOiler
August 01 2012, 03:01PM
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People have been underestimating Eberle since before he was drafted. He has shown us what he can do. I look forward to Eberle being with us for along time.

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#35 OILER86
August 01 2012, 03:06PM
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Ive often wondered how long it would take until the shine wore off and some of the more impatient, A.D.D. Oiler fans began talking trade involving eberle and/or hall. Ridiculous...absolutely a joke.

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#36 Jonathan Willis
August 01 2012, 03:12PM
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@baggedmilk

That's probably true, but so far all we know for sure is that the Oilers can finish 29th and 30th and fans will find things to complain about.

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#37 John Chambers
August 01 2012, 03:12PM
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@OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F

Sure, trade him for OEL and plan the parade. Easy peasy.

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#38 The Beaker
August 01 2012, 03:15PM
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Spydyr wrote:

yah is is exactly the same as Gagner, except:

He is a better skater He has a better shot. He has better hockey sense. He is harder to knock of the puck. He has better on ice vision. He has more talent. He scores in the clutch.

Otherwise exactly the same player.

He meant next Gagner in terms of how he divides the fanbase. He never suggested he was the same player, player type, had the same hair-do, were both virgos or anything of that nature.

and no one called him redundant.

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#39 PaperDesigner
August 01 2012, 03:19PM
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I actually think Gagner has a very good chance to be better than Eberle... One has been well protected, developed with patience, and plays a position with lesser responsibility. The other? I think familiarity has bred some contempt. Part of it is that I don't see an elite four... I see an elite three, two players that project to be very, very good (Eberle and Gagner) and one that might join the latter group soon in Paajarvi.

Google Lowetide's sledgehammer results... Gagner had basically identical results with slightly tougher competition and way less favorable zone starts... I just think the percentage fairies will have to favour Gagner eventually.

In fact, I would be comfortable betting that Gagner will be within 20% of Eberle's production over the next few years at worst.

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#40 OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F
August 01 2012, 03:25PM
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John Chambers wrote:

Sure, trade him for OEL and plan the parade. Easy peasy.

Not sure what that's supposed to mean, but theirs probalby 15+ players around that league that you should trade him for if you had the chance.

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#41 John Chambers
August 01 2012, 03:30PM
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@OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F

15 young players with no red flags due to inkury or personality, on reasonable contracts who in a straight across deal for Eberle make the Oilers a better hockey team?

With all due respect I'm skeptical, but I think you're a smart guy - who would be on your list?

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#42 Pouzar99
August 01 2012, 03:36PM
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Some great posts here. I think Jason and Jonathan cover all the arguments and counter-arguments effectively about Ebs future point totals.

If I understand Jonathan he is saying that if, and it is a huge if, you could trade one off the fab four as part of a package for a franchise D man, Ebs would be the logical choice right now. This is very, very unlikely, but say LA was crazy enough to part with Doughty for Ebs and a few others, or if the Preds would have taken Ebs and a bit more for Weber? How could we not do it?

Maybe the biggest argument against it is that it would cast some ice cold water on the team's attempt to get their young stars to bond and maybe take a little less money to stick together. I thnk this is more of a theoretical argument than a choice that will have to be made.

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#43 Chainsawz
August 01 2012, 03:37PM
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I love the strictly stats guys.

It must have happened once where a player in his third season increased his shooting percentage. So since it happened once, it is reasonable to say that there is a 100% chance it will happen again. And given Eberle has a 50/50 shot at either being below or above that mark, let's take the average of 100% and 50% and that makes a 75% likelyhood that Eberle improves his totals from last season. Boom.

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#45 billylikestodrinksoda
August 01 2012, 03:42PM
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@jasongregor

I think the reason for the reasonable expectations and logic that LT and Willis provide (i can't speak for the Dellows piece, as I havn't read it), is to provide a mindset of what management SHOULD be thinking.

Competent and proper management can't think like a fan. Management can't live off hope and say "Well, he's a year older so he will be this much better" or else they are setting themselves up for failure.

Good team management can't hope for best case scenario's. Which, unfortunately, is what our management has done for the past 5-6 years.

You look at our Defense last year and it basically lived off hope and a prayer. There was no plan B. It was...

-Cam Barker will figure it out and be a quality 4/5 dman (nope) -Ryan Whitney's ankle will be fine (try again) -Theo Peckham will build off a strong 10/11 season that ended with a concussion (not even close)

There was no solid top 4 option just in case something went wrong. Even this upcoming year we still need that solid top 4 option in case J. Schultz struggles or whitneys ankle malfunctions. Thinking worst case scenario and planning accordingly is what will make this team better.

Having reasonable expectations and realistic thoughts is the proper way to run a team IMO.

Everyone loves Jordan Eberle as a player. From people who think he'll get 50 pts next year to people who think he'll get 100 pts. No one is bashing him in anyway. Its just reasonable to look at the low end and set the bar there. Prepare for the worst, but still hope for the best.

The biggest problem with fans in this city is they raise expectations WAY to high. Happened with Arnott, Hemsky, Horcoff, Stoll, Gagner. Every year some expect exponential growth point and playwise. Its just unreasonable to put that kind of pressure on young players.

In the end, the player rarely lives up to such high expectations and fans start to view players as failures, when in reality they are very solid NHL players. Just not superstars.

IMO, no one is bashing Eberle. They are just setting the bar at a lower end in their minds to prepare for such a scenario. They are NOT saying it will happen, just saying that if they were to run a team, this is how they would think in order to have the team's depth filled properly.

Sorry for the length but i felt it needs to be stated.

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#46 Pajamah
August 01 2012, 04:01PM
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~yeah, that Eberly is exactly like Gagne/Ganger/Gahnyay~

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#47 Jonathan Willis
August 01 2012, 04:02PM
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@Pouzar99

That's more or less the point, yeah. I'm not an advocate of trading Eberle, Hall or Yakupov, but if an opportunity arises - say a year from now the Predators are willing to move Weber because of financial constraints - I think the team has to consider the possibility that moving an elite winger for an elite defender is a good decision.

Than it just comes down to which player a team like Nashville is willing to take as a centerpiece, and which player the Oilers are willing to part with (if any).

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#48 Jonathan Willis
August 01 2012, 04:21PM
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@Jason Gregor

My actual comment was "I don't think Eberle has peaked as a player, but based on the number of things that went right for him (most prominently SH%, and carefully managed ice-time thanks to his job riding shotgun for RNH) I do wonder if his level of offensive production is sustainable."

In other words, the carefully managed ice-time was what I was highlighting, rather than playing with RNH (though I don't doubt that playing with RNH, especially on the power play, was beneficial).

In the 17 games that RNH was out, Eberle's line started more than 60% of their even-strength shifts in the offensive zone. The rest of the team was south of 45%.

Then there's opposition. Looking at the home games in that span, Eberle typically played against guys he could light up. Feb. 2 against CHI is a good example - Hemsky got the Toews line, Jones got Hossa and Sharp, and Eberle's most common opponent was Marcus Kruger. I looked at a half dozen games over that span and sometimes it was less pronounced - Feb. 19 vs. VAN, for example, Eberle played ~2 minutes against the Sedin line, Hemsky played ~4 and Jones played ~6.

It's not bad coaching and it's not a knock on the player - when a weapon's as hot as Eberle was, absolutely it makes sense to use him in the best offensive situations - but eventually he'll get more ice-time and he'll be the go-to guy against Kane/Toews or Hossa/Bolland or the Sedins. When that happens, naturally scoring will get harder - even if Eberle's level of play rises.

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#49 OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F
August 01 2012, 04:22PM
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John Chambers wrote:

15 young players with no red flags due to inkury or personality, on reasonable contracts who in a straight across deal for Eberle make the Oilers a better hockey team?

With all due respect I'm skeptical, but I think you're a smart guy - who would be on your list?

I think we could use another C or D more then a winger, so basically I'd be looking at any C/D that was equivalent or better or a superior W, 25ish or younger.

Stamkos/Tavares/Toews/Kopitar/Giroux/Seguin/Weber/Doughty/Karlson/OEL/Petriangelo/letang/Neal

Malkin would be a no-brainer if you knew he'd re-sign

and then maybe: Lucic/Edler/Kane/Backstrom/E Stall/Quick

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#50 smiliegirl15
August 01 2012, 04:41PM
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There is nothing like a good Saskatchewan boy - character is ingrained.

I hope Eberle keeps improving. I think he's the one who was underestimated in his draft year. He's definitely my favourite player.

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