Jordan Eberle Revisited

New York Islanders v Edmonton Oilers

When the Edmonton Oilers announced that they were going to send prospect Jordan Eberle to Springfield and likely keep him there for the rest of the season, I’ll admit that I was on-board with the proposal. I thought it demonstrated patience and a measured approach the Oilers have too long lacked with their prospects, and that it was probably the best place to get Eberle started, shielded from the expectations that come with being the shiniest new youngster on a last-place team.

Eberle’s performance in Springfield has caused me to rethink that stance.

In three games with the Falcons, Eberle has three goals, three assists, and a plus-3 rating. He’s scored one-third of the Falcons’ goals since he started playing for the team, and he’s recorded points on two-thirds of them. Those are incredible numbers, and combined with his performance last year give us a strong indication that he’s too good for the AHL.

Generally, I try not to let my opinion move too quickly on players; everyone has hot and cold streaks, and it’s only with time that we can get an accurate picture of where a player’s true talent level lies. Three games don’t give us that picture. Then again, we aren’t talking about penciling the kid in on the first line for the next four years either; all we’re talking about is a major league cup of coffee.

It’s an idea that has support from a lot of different people – Ben Massey at Copper & Blue raved about Eberle’s AHL performance, Lowetide thinks that he’s ready, and Dan Barnes is of the opinion that long-suffering Oilers fans deserve a chance to see him play. They all have good points, and those points all deserve consideration.

Balanced against that are the ideas I argued for when the Oilers first made the announcement, ideas that people like David Staples, possibly (like me) burned by seeing too many players in the NHL before they were ready, support. Taking time to allow players to succeed before they move up the depth chart is important, both for their development and for the NHL team.  Ladislav Smid, for instance, probably should have had at least one more year in the minors, something which might have been good for his development, would have been good for the team, and would have kept him on a cheap contract for an additional year.

Speaking of which, another point for consideration is that there’s no purpose to burning up a year of Eberle’s cheap entry level contract playing out the final minutes of a dying and irredeemable season. According to CapGeek, that’s no longer a concern; the Oilers have only 10 games left and Eberle’s contract will slide to next season as long as he plays fewer than 11 games in the NHL. There may be other concerns; I’m not a CBA expert and if there are that would provide a valid reason for keeping Eberle in the AHL.

But that’s the only reason at this point. Eberle’s play has been strong enough that he’s earned a call-up on merit, and as long as it won’t weaken the Oilers’ ability to negotiate with him in the future they should give him his first NHL experience.

  • GSC

    What's wrong with being patient and letting him dominate in the AHL? He either a) maintains his 1 ppg, b) scores more than a ppg or c) cools a bit. It plays 4 games up here this year it will have no impact on where he plays next year. He'll either start in the AHL or NHL next year depending a), b) or c), his camp/pre-season AND the make-up of the rest of the roster, which will have some key changes from where it is today (in some form or another).

    If he rips through the A the rest of the year, then maybe they are more likely to plan on having him here next season. If he's only average or slightly above then why rush him, let him force them to call him up – we're not going to win the cup next season anyway. Heaven help us if whatever off season moves management makes or doesn't make are predicated on his play during a 4 game call up at the end of this season.

    • He has a 2 ppg average.

      Why does everyone think he's being rushed? He played 2 seasons past his draft year in the CHL and now he's dominating the AHL.

      At what point is he no longer being rushed? At what point is he actually earning his way onto the team, or simply earning a call-up? He hasnt been rushed. The Oilers have already let him develop, and what he's shown is that he is ready to be a professional. If it was Liam Reddox puting up 2 ppg in the AHL would everyone think twice about calling him up? I dont think so. He's a professional now, he should be treated like one. A call up on a last placed team with a handfull of games left isnt rushing an almost 20 year old who is dominating in the AHL after dominating the CHL 2 years past his draft date.

  • GSC

    Paralyzed or paranoid about how and what to do with Eberle and new rookies coming into fold with existing draft this season ? How long are the Oiler fans going to be satisfied with waiting ? This seasons rendition has been excruciating enough , lets hope next season is not the same club with all it's problems and with all the rookies and draft choices still not on the club . Demanding fans are not that patient ,and their already tired of waiting for some kind of turnaround with this club !

      • OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F

        I agree that it's unlikly, but with Chara and Savard getting close to 35 they probably have a pretty short window (ie 2-3 years). And it's resonable to believe whomever they draft wont be overly impactful in that time (where Hemsky would be).

        • Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach

          I can see Hall/Seguin being 20 or so points behind Hemsky next year and by season 2-3 on par if not better. Not sure I see the point of Hemsky straight up for the pick. Also there was talks that the Bruins were willing to waive Ryder, so maybe they waive him and go fishing in the off-season.

        • Bucknuck

          I think any trade that gets us 1-2 would involve the oilers trading up to get a mid round #1 pick and then using that and Hemsky plus to land it. Another first round pick needs to be going the other way, and with a 31st pick that could be done.

          Would you go 2nd overall pick to 11th if it got you Ales Hemsky? Doesn't sound too stupid then

        • It wouldnt for me. I've heard a lot of people say that Gagner wont top out as a true #1 centre so it makes sense to move him. That argument makes 0 sense to me. If he's going to be a good #2 centre, and the Oilers draft a future #1 centre this year then the Oilers will finally have strength up the middle.

          The notion that the Oilers should give up on the 2nd most productive player from the 2007 Draft because he MIGHT not be a true #1 centre is crazy sauce. Sam Gagner IS part of the rebuild.

      • I'm thinking Boston won't even have that pick. I'm also thinking the team to talk to could very well be the Columbus Blue Jackets (there's been other's here that suggested this as well).

        The combination of Rick Nash needing playmaker + CBJ need to make playoffs + Scott Howson + reasonably-priced Ales Hemsky possibly being available + CBJ likely having at least a top 5 pick, maybe even top 2 or 3 + good young players on either side to make a blockbuster (Brassard, Voracek, Filatov, Tyutin v. Gagner, Cogliano, Svensson, Gilbert) = FIREWORKS!!

  • Ender

    @ ekcut

    A lot more goes on in training camp than just scrimmage. Eberle will be able to demonstrate in dozens of situations that he is a better alternative than other players at camp; not just in scrimmage. He won't have the same opportunity to start on even terms coming in 74 games into the season and playing on a team that is focussed on surviving the last few games rather than NHL 101.

    @ ekcut
    @ Mike Krushelnyski

    Size is a big factor. In the NHL, players are faster, stronger, and heavier than they are in the AHL and much moreso than in junior. Without a gradual adjustment, it will be like taking a hot piece of glass and running ice-water over it. Too much change too fast could place Eberle in a situation he thinks he's ready for but doesn't really understand yet. Driving to the net and scoring in the WHL is probably a very familiar feel for Jordan. Driving to the net and getting destroyed by Boogaard probably feels quite a bit different. I'd prefer he not learn that the hard way until he's eased himself into the difference a little more slowly, starting with the AHL and working up to the cream of the AHL and the fringe NHLers.

    • ekcut

      Sorry dude, I just don't agree.
      The goon factor in the AHL is greater then it is in the NHL. You can't shelter Eberle no matter where he plays.

      Of course training camp is huge, but it is no substitution for NHL hockey. To stick next year he must excel in camp and pre-season, no matter what happens this year.
      I am in no means claiming he is a sure thing. I honestly beleive he will NOT make the NHL team out of camp next year. All I am saying is let's educate the organization about how he can handle the NHL.

      If he proves he does belong. Then maybe it makes the decision to buy out Nilson or POS, or let Comrie or Potulny walk, or trade Cogs or Gagner easier.

      Options baby options…that's all I want.

  • You don't think we have enough draft choices already to build around ? We still have Gags, Cogs , Smid , Nilsson, etc. to still build around without even knowing about Eberle , Svensson , etc.. You seem to want to unload them (first four )already for more unknown and unproven draft choices ? You don't think we should be holding onto a little more veteran presence (more retooling) to help bring them along ? Sounds to me like most of you want to keep continually rebuilding with draft choices and are willing to wait another 5 years to hopefully field a competitive and maybe entertaining club . I don't see a lot of development happening being at bottom of league and little adequate veteran presence . How much development, or under development has the AHL been the last couple of seasons for us ?? Just maybe , if we had used some of our draft choices from last three seasons we might have had a competitive club by now – have you thought of that scenario at all ?

  • Bucknuck

    Hemsky for #3 (Fowler) would be a bad trade IMO. Seguin and Hall are blue chip prospects, so there it would make sense, but Fowler is a big maybe. I would rather gamble on the maybe of resigning Hemsky in two years than the gamble that ANOTHER soft puck moving defenseman draft pick might develop into Brian leetch.

    Heck – I find Hemsky entertaining to watch. If you take him out of oiler silks there better be smething almost as entertaining coming back or don't bother. I want some entertainment for the next two years – rebuild or no.

    • What I can agree with Madjam about is that there seems to be a bizarre sentiment that the Oilers should be moving out young players for even younger players instead of letting them develop. Guys like Cogliano and Gagner appear to have come to their expiry date in terms of development with some fans, and the solution is to trade them for even more unknown 18 year old players. The same thing will happen with the next batch of young guys that dont meet fan standards and so on.*

      As far as his point about the AHL not developing guys for the Oilers. The Falcons would look a lot different had they been afforded the opportunity to play Lander, Svensson, Omark, Nash, and Petry I'm sure. The Oilers' best prospects all play outside of the AHL. Those are the guys that the club wants to develop, not the Liam Reddoxes and Chris Minards of the Organization.

      *That kind of fan impatience is why so many people are swinging the pendulum the other direction and believe that Eberle must stay in the AHL for the next 15 seasons until it is finally safe to say that he can play in the NHL.

      • Bucknuck

        I get the sentiment (and I agree to a point), but he said things like:

        "Just maybe , if we had used some of our draft choices from last three seasons we might have had a competitive club by now – have you thought of that scenario at all ?"

        We have all our draft choices from the last five years. What is being said doesn't make sense.

        I would trade two of Cogs, O'sullivan or Nilsson. Not because of my fan expiration date, but because they are the same type of player and it isn't working. I would hope they would get some youth in return.

        • Yeah, that Draft Pick bit didnt make sense

          I'm not convinced that Cogliano, Nilsson, and POS are the same type of player. I've seen Cogs draw more penalties with his speed and willingness to battle than POS, for example.

          They might have the same body type, but I dont think all 3 play a similar game.

          • Bucknuck

            I think I will have to concede on that point. They are very different players when I think of it, but they are all rather small. It wouldn't be bad if we also didn't have Brule, Comrie, and Gagner in the lineup – who are also small.

            Even with his sub-par production this year I would take Cogliano over POS and Nilsson. He is a better all around playerand seems like a driven individual and a good friend of Gagner, who is absolutely part of the rebuild. You should keep that going.

            So of POS, Gagner, Brule, Comrie, Nilsson, Cogliano, and now Eberle. Who do you keep? You can't keep them all. I would keep Brule, Gagner, Eberle, and Cogs and sign Comrie again to show the little guys how to play like bigger guys. I love MC's spunk. The rest can go.

            @ Rosscreek

            I wouldn't mind seeing a blockbuster deal, but losing Hemsky would be a huge blow. He is a top 20 forward in this league when you consider his age and contract so whatever you get had better have a lot of upside.

      • I agree and have made this same statement before likening what fans want here as ground hog day…you mention Gagner and Cogliano having reached their expiry date.

        It seems that Hemsky is now also at his expiry date with many fans and the cry is out there to trade him now while we can get something for him instead of making all efforts to resign him. Thus the ground hog reference or the endless carousel that happens amongst a mass of fans here.

        With this way of thinking we it's like you said…as soon as this batch starts nearing the age 26 there will be a cry to trade them for the next up and coming draft pick…and so on and so on….

        With this way of thinking the team would never become an elite team.

        I'm all for purging some of the assets where we have too many of the same type of player but for crap sakes let's keep our best players if we can.

    • Maybe its a bigger move than just Hemsky for Fowler though. What if CBJ was willing to talk Voracek or Brassard in a deal. Maybe they have interest in Cogliano, Gagner or Gilbert. They just seem like they could be a good fit for an old fashioned blockbuster, no?

      Maybe Tom Renney really liked Fedor Tyutin from their NY days. Listening to "Oilers Lunch" yesterday, he seems to have been in on the Whitney deal (as he has likely seen him play more than any other Oiler rep). He recalled both Whitney & Potulny as prospects he had interest in when he was the Rangers Director of Player Personnel (prior to being their coach). He had good things to say about Brandon Dubinsky (who I'd target) and Fedor Tyutin (whom CBJ now has) as kid's developing on the farm from those days too.

  • Bucknuck

    I dont want Eberle anywhere near this losing atmosphere and the so called "leaders" on this team. Bring him in next year with a clean slate and lets hope for the best!

  • I'm guessing Dustin Nielson spoke with Peter Chiarelli today. Nielson just had this tweet…

    Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli has said that he will not trade the Leafs pick to the Oilers for roster players ..nuff said!!

    • Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach

      Roster players being the key word, so that leaves an opening for someone to run with future picks and prospects for that pick.

      • Don't call me crazy. I don't see why Boston would move the pick if it stays in the top 3. There are other teams that I could see, though – Columbus & Tampa being 2. Tampa's in free-fall mode. Hemsky would look awfully good setting Nash/Stamkos up, no?

        • You know I'm just teasing. Plus, you already said you didnt think that the Bruins would make the deal.

          Tampa Bay is a wildcard no question. They could do ANYTHING, and it wouldnt surprise me. I mean, they could come to the draft table wearing a$$less chaps and I wouldnt think it was out of character for them.

          • Didn't they get new ownership there? Or is that not 'official' yet? In any case, it totally depends on their mindset. They could think "hey, we've got our center (Stamkos) & our d-man (Hedman), now let's fine tune this biyatch", OR they could think "hey, imagine a 1-2 with Stamkos & Seguin, that'd be awesome". The only 'prob' there is Lecavalier… which leads to more rumors of Vinny being moved. Not sure they'll go there.

          • What I dream of is convincing Tampa to let go of St Louis. At least they had the good sense to hold on to him, even though he deserves the Lecavalier contract more than Vinny.

            If I was picking in the top 2, I would probably never give it up, on principle alone. Just from a philosophical standpoint, I couldnt do it. I would be over the moon as the GM of Tampa and could secure a top 2 pick for the 3rd straight year.

  • DK0

    Jesus H. Christmas people. Sam Gagner is untouchable. the kid cant even order a beer in the US yet and people think he's already plateauing as a 2nd line center? Even Eberle has played more AHL games then Sam, lets give him some time to develop. The kid keeps getting better every season and busts his ass every off-season.

  • This may have been touched on already, but if he keeps lighting it up in the AHL and the Oilers don't call him up this year, the expectations on him are going to spiral out of control in the offseason.

    If we call him up now when these games are basically meaningless, fans will have a better idea of what to expect from him next year.

    • Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach

      If he gets 3g and 3a in 3 games in the NHL fans will be calling for him to get 50 goals next year. It doesn't really matter what you do with him, no matter what people are going to get bored in the summer and start making projections that aren't reachable. It's not just fans, wait for the media too.

      • Bucknuck

        One of these days the players will meet our expectations and then you'll look really silly. Well… maybe not. But wouldn't it be great if Gagner had an eighty point season, or Cogs scores thirty, or Eberle fifty, or Hemsky gets 100 points. Someday.

        • Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach

          Except very few are offering actual predictions other then he is going to be good or great, what exactly does that mean?

  • Also, leave Eberle in Springfield until the Oilers are secured of last place then bring him up for a few games!
    I would rather see him play a boat load of minutes down there instead of the 14-17 minutes (at best) he may see here!

    • Bucknuck

      That is why I keep saying that the Oilers have to be dead last to make sure they get a top 2 pick! I agree that Bettman will some how have a hand in someone else winning the lottery and pushing the Oilers back to the # 2 slot.
      Making a trade at the draft to acquire the other pick what ever it is, will be a last minute thing and hopefully he cannot affect that!

      I know the probabilities of this actually happening are remote but I do think it is do-able!

  • Bucknuck

    I think the "dangle the carrot" arguement is one of the best I have heard yet.

    One of two things happen, he comes up:

    1. He continues his hot season with a finish in the NHL
    2. He realizes how fast the game is and has a summer to work on his deficiencies.

    He has to be an upgrade over a few of our Pylons.

  • Wanyes bastard child

    I was on the same page with Arch in a previous thread stating that in no way does Boston move their pick.

    And as RC mentioned, I think we have a better chance of getting the third from a Columbus or Tampa. With the third pretty much Cam Fowler I see Hemsky as way to much to give up for Fowler but I could see something like this…

    Souray and Cogs, POS or Nillson (possibly even Potulny) and our second round pick to aquire the third for Fowler. Might need a few more pieces depending on who ends up with the third but I think its a decent start.

  • Wanyes bastard child

    I have never heard anything so absurd. Boston needs a goal scorer to replace what they lost in Phil Kessel. In Seguin/Hall they get it back and more. If you watch Kessel play he's at his most effective when he's not carrying the puck. He finds soft spots on the ice and uses a very heavy shot to his advantage. In Hall and Seguin you have two very different animals. Hall is guy who can create offence out of nothing. He has exceptional moves to create space and has very explosive speed and has underrated passing skills. Seguin is a complete player, a true center, and does everything very well albeit his offense is less flashy than Hall's. Boston would have to fire their entire management team if they moved their pick for any player on the Oilers. Hemsky is a playmaker not a goal scorer. In 9 years in Edmonton he has shown that he lacks that killer instinct with his shot and lacks an ability to read where he should place himself for prime shots. Boston already has 2 very good playmakers but no true snipers. Krejci is about on the same level as Hemsky in terms of skill and Savard is one of the best and most consistent playmaking centers in the league. The fact is they have an 18% chance at that top pick and they are sitting on it unless they get a franchise caliber player, which the Oilers don't have.