Ebs and Flows

There’s so much happening with these young Oilers it’s impossible to keep track. Example: as of this morning, Jordan Eberle is leading the entire NHL in a very important offensive category.

As of this morning, young Jordan Eberle leads the NHL in 5×5 points per 60 minutes. That means that at even strength he’s absolutely killing it, and doing so in his second full NHL season. This season, I’ve noticed a couple of times Eberle scoring from outer zones, areas where the Ryan Smyth’s of the world can get a shot off but one wouldn’t consider it a scoring chance. Eberle has always had a quick, accurate shot but this year he’s finding twine from above the slot and doing it with some regularity. Add this to his impressive playmaking ability and the Oilers have a 21-year old who looks primed to explode offensively.

WHAT WOULD THE EXPLOSION LOOK LIKE?

 

tsn’s season projections have Eberle finishing the season 31-56-87, and those are exceptional boxcars. We can’t project those numbers with authority–injuries and slumps could factor in to all of this–but the young man has been a constant on Edmonton’s top line and there’s no reason to change based on performance. Put it this way: he’s on pace to have an exceptional season.

OVERSHADOWED

Ryan Nugent-Hopkins is absolutely deserving of the attention he’s received during a rookie season that so far ranks as one of the very best of the last 25 years. However, chemistry plays a big part in these things and "RNH to Eberle" may one day become as famous a phrase as well, certainly as famous as Weight-to-Smyth.

Eberle’s uniqueness–in my opinion–comes in the sheer number of areas he’s good to very good in. Eberle is a smart, savvy player who can find open ice and pass the puck expertly. He’s a quick shooter, very accurate and has a keen sense of timing in regard to when to take a shot. I think several of those "outside the scoring zone" goals he’s managed this season have to do with angles, timing of release and making the goalie aware of his other (passing) options before shooting.

We’ll see. Maybe my eyes are telling me things that aren’t there. I see a kid who is not only getting the tip ins and deflections, but also beating goalies clean with his shot and doing so from above the slot.

There’s a word for a player like that: sniper. Is 30 goals at age 21 an indication of a young player about to go super nova? Well, let’s not get ahead of ourselves. There’s plenty of season to go.

WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?

As time rolls along, we’ll know about Eberle,RNH and Hall. We already know lots about them but there’s still a ways to go. I think the lesson of RNH and Eberle and their impressive start to the 11-12 season is that we shouldn’t impose any limitations or imply greatness based on such small sample sizes.

Enjoy the scenery.

Nation Radio hits the air at noon today on Team 1260 at noon today. I read comments posted at both blogs, on twitter @ItsNationRadio and @lowetide_ plus we’re available at nationradio@theteam1260.com Our guests:

  • Matt Bugg from dobber hockey. The prospects expert will spend time telling us about some of the Oilers kids who are emerging this season and we’ll preview the WJs and the names to know in that Xmas tournament.
  • Kent Wilson from Flames Nation will help tee up the BOA tonight in Calgary. Flames are 5-4-1 in their last 10 and the Oilers are 4-5-1 in the same time frame. With the Oilers off for a long stretch after the game, it’s an important contest.
  • Danny Gray from Leafs Nation will break down the sale of MLSE and how it will impact the television sports pie in this country. We’ll also have a look at the parallel improvement of the Leafs and Oilers and see which path chosen appears to be working best.
  • Ryan Lambert from Two Line Pass. Ryan is a keen observer of the game and a clever fellow. We’ll talk about the league in general and the BOA specifically, along with some league news over the last week.

Your input is always important hope you can listen live or via podcast.

  • Romulus' Apotheosis

    Great Article LT!

    EBs is feeling it that’s for sure! Can you believe, or for that matter remember, that it took him 8 games to get his first goal this season! I remember waiting for the floods to break… thank goodness they haven’t been re-dammed!

    It’s been a fun season to watch people break out of slumps. Gagner has had the eye of the tiger for the past 10 games or so and it’s started to really pay off… kid looks radically different. Eager woke up and looks like we hoped he would finally. I imagine the concussion symptoms finally ebbed (Ha!).

    Unfortunately, it seems the Oil play a zero-sum game. With the rise of Gagner and Eager it looks like Smyth has maybe lost a step. He made another giveaway behind his own net last night in the first. Horcoff made a beauty pass in his own zone to the Avs for an easy scoring chance in the second. Hemsky looks apathetic when he isn’t crashing the net – he got a few nice shots off though – but need some pepper in his porridge to get him feisty.

    I imagine for the prospect show you’ll cover what I want to hear… but if you haven’t thought of it yet… can you discuss our Goalie situation – ie., Is Bunz going to the WJC, does he have a shot at #1 over Visentin? Where does Roy fit in the overall picture now? has he been surpassed on the depth chart by Bunz? Also a word or two about the Finns would be appreciated.

    Also, what are your thoughts on NHL teams sending their rookies back to WJ camp? pros/cons for both the NHL teams, players involved and the players it might push out of the WJC.

    Thanks as always!

  • The Farmer

    Gagner keeps playing like he did last night he’s gonna find himself right back in the conversation for building blocks of this team with the other kids

        • Romulus' Apotheosis

          For the love of Hockey God, how did an RNH-to-Ebs story turned into Trade-Hemsky one?

          Anyway, I say let’s fix it, instead of trading it:
          new lines in YYC:
          RNH-Ebs-HEMSKY
          Horc-Smyth-Jones
          Lander-Pajarvi-Gagner
          Belanger-Hordi-Eager

          Rnh and Ebs will work their magic and provide Hemsky with first hattrick of the season. Problem solved!

          • O.C.

            You’re going to have a guy like Hemsky (WHO DOES NOT SHOOT) play on his opposite wing? A fragile player put in a power forward role on his offwing? A guy who thinks pass before shoot on his off wing to make his passing a bit more difficult?

            A power forward type who is great at one timers would make sense playing his off wing, not a pansy like Hemsky.

            That idea stinks.

            Hemsky simply needs to go. I don’t need a player sniveling saying “it’s not that I don’t want to shoot it’s that I CAN’T shoot” because his shoulder is bothering him. A player who “CAN’T” shoot shouldn’t be playing near top line minutes.

          • Jerk Store

            Both right wingers…. But I like the way you think. The kids can make anybody look good. But give Gagner credit he earned his chance here. Since the fight with Halischuk he has been a new man ….

  • book¡e

    Wishing you all the best of this early FISTive Season! Eberle is the real deal – we saw glimpses of this in the WJH of years past, but now he’s bringing it to the NHL level.

  • O.C.

    Nah, couldnt be

    Hmmm. Guess it was.

    While on the Ginger / MaryAnn question, before the draft I asked if Oil should trade their pick for Tyler Seguin. People were all over that.

    Who would make that trade now?