JORDAN EBERLE: NO NEED FOR THE ENGRAVER

Jordan Eberle isn’t going to muscle into the Calder Trophy race in a meaningful way in the Edmonton Oilers final four games of this season, but that he’s going to get some votes is testament to the kind of season he’s had under trying conditions.

Despite playing with an injury-riddled and rebuilding bottom-feeder and missing 13 games with a sprained left ankle, Eberle goes into Tuesday’s game against the Vancouver Canucks sitting eighth in rookie scoring with 18-23-41 in 65 games.

While that leaves Eberle well short of the 58 points Carolina’s Jeff Skinner has compiled and the 54 San Jose’s Logan Couture has — he’ll likewise come up short behind them in voting by the Professional Hockey Writer’s Association — his numbers are nothing to sneeze at.

The way I see it, Eberle and Taylor Hall, who’ll finish the season with 42 points in 65 games, will flirt with the fringe of the top five vote-getters when all is said and done.

If they do, it’ll represent the best finish by a tandem of Edmonton rookies since Sam Gagner finished seventh and Andrew Cogliano was ninth in 2008 Calder Trophy voting.

Considering the circumstances, that’s impressive.

EXCEEDING EXPECTATIONS

While the Calder Trophy is a nice trinket and looks good on the career resume — not to mention it’s put more than a little bonus money in the jeans of rookies past — a look at the list of winners shows the best first-year player doesn’t necessarily turn out to be the best player.

I’m not saying the 20-year-old Eberle will turn out to be a more prolific scorer than Skinner or Couture, but when you consider the numbers he’s put up on a team that has just 186 goals, which ranks 28th in the NHL, and that he’s missed 13 games, his numbers are excellent.

Eberle, taken 22nd in the 2008 Entry Draft, has five game-winning goals, second to the eight scored by Couture, and he’s put up points at the PPG clip of .630, which represents a better pace than five of six Oilersnation writers pegged him for in the Lucky 13 Draft.

Jason Gregor and I had Eberle pegged for 45 points this season, which is .548 PPG. Wanye stumbled out of the filth of his trailer and picked Eberle for 50 points, or .609 per game. Willis had Eberle for 39 points (.475) and Lowetide low-balled at 29 points (.353). Only the curious entity that is Bagged Milk was too optimistic, picking Eberle for 53 points (.646).

Eberle has certainly been more prolific than the, ahem, experts here thought he would be and he’s done it without Ales Hemsky, Sam Gagner and Hall for big chunks of the season.

WORK IN PROGRESS

"I think he’s a little bit a victim of the circumstances," coach Tom Renney said of Eberle, who will play left wing on a line with raw rookies Chris VandeVelde and Teemu Hartikainen against Vancouver.

"Not to take anything away from his teammates and the people he lines up with on a nightly basis, but if you eliminate our top scorers out of the equation here, he’s not playing with people who have a level of competence that would enhance his offence.

"It’s fair to say he’s done and excellent job staying with the pack in terms of rookie scoring. He’s done an excellent job of contributing to our needs any way as a rookie player."

While the dynamic Hall might actually get more votes than Eberle at Calder Trophy time, it’s also fair to say that won’t define No. 14 moving forward. He’s got some dimensions to his game.

Eberle’s not only got ridiculous hands and is quicker than many people expected, he’s reasonably good defensively for a rookie and he kills penalties. What his top end offensively is, I’m not sure. We won’t know until he gets some help.

That aside, Eberle’s got the chance to lead the Oilers in team scoring this season, not to mention he could slip past Hall and do it playing just four more games. That’s not bad, no matter how you slice it.

Listen to Robin Brownlee Wednesdays and Thursdays from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. on the Jason Gregor Show on TEAM 1260.

  • Hemmertime

    This is the first comment posted.

    Hopefully we win a Calder eventually. In the next 2-3 years plz, otherwise I hope we draft too poorly to have a shot. Unless we play a 25 year old “rookie” who has 40 NHL games under his belt (15 in PO)

  • Wax Man Riley

    That’s an impressive little season for a guy picked 22nd overall. Mind you, a certain 20 year old Cogliano danced into the league as a rookie and put up very similar numbers, so I will wait to pass judgement, but we all agree Eberle’s upside is higher than Cogs. Even when Cogs put up 18 goals as a rookie, K Lowe called him a young Todd Marchant. They must have known.
    Rubin, could you call up K Lowe for us and ask what he would call Eberle? A young Patrick Kane I would hope upon a star….

    • Craig1981

      That 2007-08 team was a helluva lot better and had more experience to help bring the kids along than this team does.

      That said, don’t sell Cogliano short. He’s going to finish a horrid season with 35 or so points. He can be a third-liner here or with another NHL team for the next 10 years. That’s not bad for a late first-rounder.

      Obviously, though, Eberle has way better hands and sharper offensive instincts.

  • Craig1981

    Eberle, the only good thing we got out of the Pronger trade. (OK, maybe Martin Marincin……….and Lupal if a series of trades didn’t turn him into Vandermeer)

    • Peterborough

      I beleive what we got for Chris was (Smid, Lupul(who boiled down to Vandy and Cameron Abney(who ma become our future enforcer),2007 1rst who eventually became Marincin, 2008 1rst (Eberle) and 2008 2nd rounder (which was used in the compensation for Penner)

      So depending on how some of kids pan out it could be a won top 4D men and top 6 W. Not bad for having your hands tied.

      • Craig1981

        Your close on that (the Penner pick was flipped 5 times and I think it is streching it a spoil of the trade) But as I was saying Smid, Vandy, and Abney are nothing but easy replaceable parts that are nothing you wanted to see one of the top 3 Dmen in the league leave for. Without Eberle it would of been one of the worst series of trades of the history of the Oilers

    • fuck off

      Spezza is only a good idea if we as a Nation are willing to accept that he WILL make terrible turnovers every once in a while. And can’t play defense or the PK. Otherwise, yeah Spezza is a great #1 center.

      That being said, and I just thought about this, how much will he cost to the cap hit… $7 mil a year for the next 4. So unless Ottawa is willing to take Horcoff there’s no way in hell this deal gets made. Also with that kind of cash involved I don’t think there’s any intelligence behind the Oil taking on Spezza’s cap limitations for a 1C who isn’t defensively reliable.

      • Quicksilver ballet

        On the Spezza issue.

        The best players in the game turn the puck over alot, you’ll find Crosby,Ovechkin,Stamkos,Thornton etc ahead of Jason on that list. I’d do that Spezza deal in a heartbeat if it meant moving out #10. If the Sens are considering a major rebuild then this would save them almost 6 million dollars over the next four yrs, Heck, i’d even throw in both third rounders this summer.

  • Wax Man Riley

    I know there is a lot of Oilers bashing in the last couple months, but out of the 14 teams that aren’t going to make the playoffs, I would rather be an Edmonton fan at this point.

    ….maybe a New Jersey fan as they have a pretty good base.

    • Wax Man Riley

      Have you checked out the Islanders roster lately. They have two forwards with over 30 goals two forwards with over 20 and one with 19. Travis Hamonic a rookie defenceman who was playing with the Brandon Wheat Kings last year at this time has 23 points is plus 6 and is playing over 20 minutes a night. Al Montoya has come in and is giving them solid goaltending. They will also have Mark Streit healthy next year.

      • Wax Man Riley

        Could the Isles rebuild be coming to fruition? I hope so, I have like the Islanders since about ’84

        Also, does that mean we will need to ship snow shovels to Satan? What’s next? Atlanta making the playoffs?

      • Dutchscooter

        Yes, but they still have Charles Wang as owner (ie. doesn’t want to spend his money), so just when Okposo, Tavares, etc run out their rookie contracts they’ll have to slash their payroll. At least Katz pays the bills.

  • Mitch

    What I like most about Eberle is his ability to take the puck in to tight areas and to make high level skill plays that end up in the back of the net. Eberle isn’t the quickest guy or biggest but he has a goal scores release that should equate to 30 goals a season down the road. I would do everything in my power to secure RNH. I PVR’d all the games on shaw, with RNH ability to hit the sweet spot when he passes the puck, it is my thoughts that we could have one of the most prolific scoring lines in the game and for many years to come. We must continue with patience but success will come and Eberle will be a big reason why. We care about the stanley cup and the playoffs in Etown, not personal trophies.

  • DoubleJ

    If Eberle is going to play LW, why not actually put him with Omark? Seriously, I have no idea what Renney is doing half the time this season.

    He’s played Khabi constantly more then the better DD. Renney stated that he’d swap goalies until they get a win. Right after he stated this he played Khabi two games in a row. Now we will see in Double D gets another game.

    Omark has been carrying this team for the last few games and he’s a natural lw but he’s been put on the rw and he’s still playing great. Renney has not put Eberle with Omark yet since all the injuries. Why not?

    This teams going no where with the coaching and management on this team.

    • billylikestodrinksoda

      Well im no expert but probably because we have a high end AHL team playing out there right now and spreading out the few offensively gifted players left is a smarter play then sticking them all on one line. I dont think leaving harts, vandy, and o’marra to fend for themselves is smart coaching strategy. If the team was healthy yeah i guess maybe you try them but really whats the point? But then again I’m no expert.
      And with regards to khabby CONSTANTLY playing more im confused because the starts are 45 khabby, 33 dubs, and 3 gerber. As well, dubnyk has played half the games since the all star break. So im not quite sure what team your watching but your comments seem a little unwarranted. But then again, im just using common sense so who knows right?

  • smiliegirl15

    Just think if he could have had decent teammates! He would have had points rivaling the Calder leaders, or not enough ice time because there were too many better players ahead of them. I heart Eberle.

  • That ebs grill just cracks me up. when placed in the context of “my dad holds a govt position with WCB sask”…… its even more hilarious.

    I enjoy watching him…… a bit lazy on the back check at times but is very patient with the puck…. (to a fault) and is not afraid to shoot the damn thing (how novel)

  • Wax Man Riley

    all this i heart islanders talk makes me remember that garth snow is the gm. he will mess it up so be aware of broken hearts.

    eberle’s battle is what impresses me the most. i mean super quick hands yes, but knock him off the puck nope! suprisingly tough on the puck down low and in the corners.

  • The Farmer

    The last time the Islanders were great the Oilers followed close on their heels, here’s hoping. ( I could handle four isle cups if we follow with another five )

  • OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F

    Gotta say Eberle was far better then I expected. I thought MPS would be the .65 player out of the gate with Eberle in a more modest role putting up more modest numbers.

  • Crash

    I had Eberle tops for points (55) in Lucky 13 between the big three rooks. With Hall 2nd (52) and Paajarvi (41) bringing up the rear. Nothing Eberle or Hall does surprises me. And it looks like Paajarvi is starting to feel more and more comfortable each and every game.

    The next few years are shaping out to be quite a ride with these three. Throw in a RNH (or similar) and let the fun begin.

  • Quicksilver ballet

    Had a feeling at the start of the year that neither Taylor or Jordan would have a shot at Calder glory with what the Oilers had to offer them as a centerman. These kids need help and they need it now, or we could have one or two kids that want out of here by the time their ELC’s expire.

    ….just sayin. Has to be a make or break summer for Tambellini, perhaps it’s time to do more than just listen.

    Had Taylor Hall at 21g 25a=46pts and Jordan at 19g 24a= 43pts in the Lucky 13 pool.

  • Quicksilver ballet

    Expectations. I had the same as many. Eberle has done what I would I expect with the team that he has played with this year. Really no one could ask more of hime expect himself.What will he do when he has RNH giving him the puck next season? Its going to be another great off season. Don’t mind the 5 years in a row when I think of what we’ll see down the road.