Reminder: Jordan Eberle Is Pretty Good

Oiler trade rumours are always all over the place in terms
of who is going and why, but there has been a common thread during this
rebuild: whichever Oiler is rumoured to be traded will almost certainly be portrayed
as a slug. Now it’s Jordan Eberle’s turn. I have to admit I didn’t see that one coming before this season.

I mean, I should have seen it coming. Every outgoing Oiler
has been subject to the same treatment. You would have thought Hemsky was an
AHL regular when he was moved. If Oiler fans (and certain members of the media)
were to be believed, Jeff Petry was made of paper when he left the club. Jordan
Eberle is no different.

And can you blame everyone? The Oilers are terrible.
Therefore, all their players are terrible. It’s pretty simple.

Of course, we know that isn’t true, but instincts are so
difficult to re-wire.

Jordan Eberle’s name has come up in trade discussion because
the Oilers have been run so poorly for so long that quite literally the only
thing they could do well was draft in the first round. Combined with a natural
(and appropriate) bias towards scoring forwards near the top of the draft, that
left the franchise with more talent up front than anywhere else by far.

Had the Oilers not blown the job of acquiring goaltending
and defense for the last seven years we wouldn’t be mentioning Jordan Eberle in trade
scenarios because he’s a very good player. He’s the kind of player teams should
be holding onto. Instead, the Oilers are in a position where they have to part
with a quality young forward in order to make up for the terrible position the
last two GMs have put the team in.

No doubt, if Jordan Eberle (or God forbid Ryan
Nugent-Hopkins) has to be traded for a defenseman it falls on the failure of
the organization to procure and/or keep any quality right-handed defensemen
much more than it falls on the player himself.

As I’ve mentioned previously, the fans and the media can be
a fickle bunch. While the speculation of the day has fallen back to Eberle for
Hamonic, there is an alarming number of people who are treating Eberle like
damaged goods. As if he’s deficient and the Islanders would lose the deal hands
down. Instead of acknowledging the fact that he’s a first line right winger in
the NHL, people have taken to referring to him as “a 6 million dollar winger”. As
if he’s an overpaid slug.

This is insane.

Let’s not forget for a moment that Travis Hamonic has
demanded a trade to a city in the north-west. Garth Snow has an asset that he
has to trade. He only has 5-6 different teams he can make a trade with to
satisfy the demands of his player. All 5-6 GMs are fully aware of this
scenario.

In terms of leverage, Snow can only hope to create a bidding
war between those select few organizations and if that fails to materialize
that leaves him between a rock and a hard place.

Jordan Eberle is a quality scorer in the NHL on a team that
struggles to score. The Oilers have not exactly been an easy team to play for during
these dark years. Over the last three seasons the Oilers are 27th in
Goals For in the NHL — #14 in Oiler silks has been getting the job done at an
elite level on a club that simply does not score.

If we limit the discussion of his production to just the last three years then we should get a pretty good handle on the player Jordan Eberle
should be moving forward. He’s 25 years old and should stay reasonably close to
his established level of play for some time. So what is that?

Looking only at points from right wingers over the last three seasons, Jordan Eberle is eighth with 150 in 198 games. That’s more
than Jagr. More than Hossa. More than Ryan and Iginla. Jordan Eberle is not
just some 6 million dollar bill that the Oilers have to pay. He is one of the
best scorers in the NHL playing his position. Period.

In terms of power play points, Eberle is sixth
among RW’s in scoring on the man-advantage. He has 46 power play points in
those 198 games. This while Edmonton’s power play efficiency during that time
was in the bottom third of the league at 17%.

Edmonton is a sub-par power play team and still Eberle has
been killing it on the PP. Edmonton can’t score in general and yet he still
creates offense at an elite level. This is impressive. This is damned
impressive.

People shouldn’t be talking about how soft Jordan Eberle is.
They shouldn’t be mentioning his name in this trade scenario like the Islanders
would be doing the Oilers a favor by taking him off their hands.

Jordan Eberle’s name has been linked to trade rumours all
year. More specifically he’s been linked to Hamonic and the Islanders. Even
though history tells us Oiler players will be dragged through the mud on their
way out of town until all we can see is the filth, some common sense and a
little thought can cut right through that.

Eberle isn’t soft. He isn’t some overpaid nobody. He is one
of the highest scoring right wingers in the National Hockey League and both we
and the organization would be fools to forget it. The Islanders should be lucky
to land a player of his caliber in exchange for one who has demanded out of New
York and back to this part of the world.

  • blark

    Ok. I think I have JAFO’s theory figured out. These have been the most comprehensible posts in a while.

    So, his buddy MOMA2 developed a system/style of hockey and was feeding it to the Oilers via blogs. The Oilers picked it up, and Pat Quinn started utilizing it. Jafo thinks it was working, but the Oilers pushed this MOMA guy offline somehow. But since then players have left the team but brought with them this “new age hockey system” (i.e. Jarret Stoll) and started using it on their teams. So this MOMA person started feeding the Kings/Hawks teams this system, and it has won them cups. But in the meantime the Oilers coaches have ignored this new-age hockey system, and instead have started listening to Dellow, who (according to JAFO) is a load of crap and is destroying the system (I’m getting an arch-nemesis feel between JAFO and Dellow, I wonder if Dellow accidentally pushed JAFO into a vat of acid or something).

    • hitchikerforajax

      Player talent was the name of the game with Pittsburgh and Detroit battling for the cup in 2008 and 2009. After countless attempts to sign highly skilled free agents, the mandate switched to drafting highly skilled players.

      With Craig MacTavish’s coaching departure, it was a perfect opportunity for Taylor or Tyler. Throw in an experienced but aging coach, and combine it with a mismatched roster to influence a 30th place finish in 2010.

      Backtrack to 2004 and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology pioneering sport analytics courses for MBA programs. By 2007 the MIT Sloan would begin to host the annual Sports Analytics Conference (yes Peter Chiarelli was on the 2007 panel, but for the personnel decisions panel).

      The 2011 year marked the year where hockey analytics would debut for the conference. Notable panel members were Stan Bowman (Chicago), Dan McKinnon (Pittsburgh), Don Fishman (Washington), Jim Price (RinkNet) and Jeff Solomon (Los Angeles).

      Not to miss the boat, the Oilers jumped on with the hiring of Darkhorse Analytics in 2011-2012. It was apparent the player valuation model from statistical sampling and analysis was the key to winning. With enough analysis and apparent poor performance against Western conference teams, Ralph Krueger was replaced with Dallas Eakins who seemed to have a superior defensive system that co-incidentally happened to be developed years earlier.

      Dellow’s addition to the Oilers signifies the reliance on analytics, which is the extension of a player-centric analytical model rather than a system-focused holstic approach. This is a repeat of Leibniz & Newton or Tesla & Edison.

  • blark

    JAFO said: “Bob 15 one goal games…..could only be remedied by Klefbom being on the roster in slightly delusional world….however even so this would simply deflect attention from there being a LACK OF OFFENSIVE impetus via process to turn those 15 frowns upside down……because Bob as we all know those were 2 goal games if we are trying to play to win 2 points and not just to compete to win brownie points.”

    “The Oilers needed TWO GOALS in each of those games to collect the 2 points they needed.This paints a very different picture than slight defensive lacking caused by an injury to top end d-man….”

    JAFO here are the one goal losses:

    EDM (3) – MIN (4)
    PIT (2) – EDM (1)
    CGY (5) – EDM (4)
    EDM (3) – LAK (4)
    CHI (4) – EDM (3) OT
    EDM (3) – DET (4) OT
    EDM (1) – VAN (2) OT
    TBL (3) – EDM (2)
    EDM (3) – ARI (4) OT
    EDM (2) – DAL (3)

    Not trying to defend Bob but… what if the lack of offense is solved by better defenders and the games turned out to be 3-1 wins for the Oil?

    Currently the average goal for per game in the NHL is 2.591… In the above 10 games the Oil were higher in 6 of those games. One could say the missing defense may have helped 🙂

    Or maybe I should say… The Oilers needed TWO LESS GOALS in each of those games to collect the 2 points they needed