Eberle Slated For Springfield

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.

  • Dan the Man

    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.

    • Petr's Jofa

      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.

      • Dan the Man

        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

          • Bucknuck

            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.

  • 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.

    • Dan the Man

      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)?

      • 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.

  • 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.

  • Dan the Man

    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 .

  • 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.

  • The 'Real' Ron Burgundy

    @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*

    • Travis Dakin

      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.

  • Helmethead

    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.

  • Chris.

    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.

  • Wanyes bastard child

    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.

  • Travis Dakin

    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!

  • @ Serenity Now:

    I could pass out links, but I don't think I'll bother. If you hadn't heard the speculation that he'd get an NHL cameo, I'm guessing this is the only Oilers site you visit.

    Not that there's anything wrong with that.

  • Bucknuck

    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.

    • Bucknuck

      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.

  • Bucknuck

    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!!!!