Monday Mailbag – Is Jordan Eberle in the Plans?

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The first week of 2017 is in the books, you’ve already quit your resolutions, and now you’re looking for ways to kill some company time until you’re allowed to go home. As always, we’re back with the mailbag to help you do that. I always need you guys for this feature so email me your questions to [email protected] or hit me up on Twitter at @jsbmbaggedmilk. Now sit back, relax, and pretend to look busy for as long as possible. Have a good week, everybody.

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1) Gregory asks – By the time this gets posted the Oilers will have only 40 games left on the season. What record over those last 40 games do you think they will need to get them into a playoff spot?


As I write this, Edmonton has 45 points in 39 games. I think they need 50 points in the final 43 games to make the playoffs. So, whatever they do in the ensuing games between now and when this gets published, subtract the total and that is my answer. 🙂

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Robin Brownlee:

I think it will take 90 points, so whatever record gets them there gets them in.

Jason Gregor:

I’d say the Oilers need 42 points in their final 40 games, which would give them 91. 

Jonathan Willis:

Right now it appears that the cut-off to make the playoffs in the West is going to be right around 90 points. As I write this the Oilers have 49 points over 41 games, which would suggest that 40 points over the back 40 would do the trick. Something like 17-17-6 to close out the year would probably get them the final wild card slot.

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Chris the Intern:

Maybe like, 18-20-2? Tough to say, they probably will end up having to be better than .500. I have a feeling LA is going to pick it up soon as usual, so they need to be good. 


If the Oilers can get through at .500 over the last 40 games or so I think they’ll be right in the mix for the playoffs. If we can squeeze a few loser points out of the 20 losses then that would also be nice. Regardless, this is the best spot the Oilers have been in in a decade.

2) Braden asks – Do you see Jordan Eberle as a long-term part of the plans for the Oilers? Why or why not?

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I don’t think there is an answer at this time, to be honest. Eberle is approaching the age where scorers often begin to fade offensively, often because they are asked to play against tougher competition. If the Oilers have the depth to run 14 against softer opposition, and that could happen, we may see him score like a demon through the end of the decade. Too soon to know is a terrible answer, except when it is the correct one.

Robin Brownlee:

Yes. Until the Oilers have a better option on RW then they don’t need to be trading Eberle or anybody else from a position that lacks depth.

Jason Gregor:

It depends on your definition of long-term. It is too difficult to predict where most players will be after three years, except the majority with NMC or elite players like Connor McDavid. Eberle is having a down year. His trade value will be lower than ever. I don’t see the Oilers giving him away for nothing, especially when they have no other natural, proven scoring right wingers. I’d say his future depends on what he does in the playoffs.

Jonathan Willis:

This is a tough question, one I went over repeatedly before finally settling in to answer it. I probably lean 60/40 towards “no.” Eberle’s best hope was to knock the ball out of the park on McDavid’s line this year and he just hasn’t done that. He’s a good, useful player, but he’s also expensive, somewhat one-dimensional, and not a guy who really seems like a fit for a Peter Chiarelli-run team. Right now my guess is that the Oilers eventually opt to utilize his money elsewhere.

With the No. 14 overall pick, the Oilers select... Connor Zary?

Chris the Intern:

Unfortunately no. I love Jordan Eberle off the ice, and i love his slick hands on the ice, but with his size and production, I could easily see him getting moved within the next two seasons as long as we have some sort of RW depth back-up.


I don’t think so and I don’t think it’s because he’s having a tough year. I don’t think he’s the kind of player that Chiarelli wants for the top line and his defensive play isn’t strong enough to justify the lulls in production. It may not happen this year, or next, but Eberle’s days in blue and orange are likely winding down.

3) Tyler asks – Connor McDavid has had his production slow down recently and I’m wondering if you think this is a result of other teams playing him differently, or because he’s still a 19-year-old player that’s learning to work through cold streaks? What can McDavid do to get himself out of this mini slump?


Combination of things, and I do think he is adjusting to the rigours of a long season. I think he has to keep pushing, and honestly, he is still having a tremendous season. Even great offensive players run hot and cold, suspect he fills the net soon. 

Robin Brownlee:

This has been asked, what, three times in different ways over the last month? He’s fine. These are the ebbs and flows of a season. Teams didn’t just start focusing on him in the last month. He’ll adjust to what other teams are trying to do against him.

Jason Gregor:

Even great players go through dips, but I wouldn’t be too worried about his game. The only area he could improve is not passing when he’s in a great shooting lane. He has had more shots on goal every month this season, and I expect we will see him producing similar numbers very soon. He is simply too good not to produce.

Jonathan Willis:

It’s probably worth breaking this down month-by-month. Here are a few of McDavid’s numbers for the first three months of 2016-17:

  • October: 2.4 shots/game, 0.6 goals/game,  0.8 assists/game, 22.7 SH%, 
  • November: 2.9 shots/game, 0.4 goals/game, 0.9 assists/game, 14.0 SH%
  • December: 3.3 shots/game, 0.2 goals/game, 0.6 assists/game, 6.5 SH%

McDavid finished December with two fewer assists than he’d managed in previous months. That’s really not much of a gap – certainly nothing I’d read into. The big drop is in the goals department, and it’s entirely a result of shooting percentage. He’s getting a ton of shots, but early in the year 1-in-5 were beating goalies whereas in December it was 1-in-17. These fluctuations are entirely normal and happen to every player, including Sidney Crosby, and we’re still going to see low-shooting percentage months when McDavid is 25, 30 and 35. I don’t think he has to change a thing.

Chris the Intern:

I think it’s a little bit of both. Thankfully when Connor doesn’t score, we have guys like Pat Maroon getting a hat trick, and Zack Kassian potting one, etc. I wouldn’t exactly call what he’s going through a ‘slump’ cause he’s still producing lots, but I would just tell him to…listen to his heart, ya know? That always works.


When was the last time we saw a 19-year old lead the league in points? I honestly have no idea. Connor is at the top of the list EVEN THOUGH HIS PRODUCTION HAS SLOWED! That’s amazing. What’s not surprising is the fact that a 19-year old would need some time to completely figure out what it means to play in the NHL. 

4) Mathieu asks – Currently Adam Larsson is the playing the fourth most minutes of any Oilers defender at 20:03 minutes per night. Is this a concern for you considering the price paid to acquire him?


I think you have to separate the player from the price to be honest. Adam Larsson is a fine NHL defenseman, and I have no concern about his ability to help any team win games. He is playing 20 minutes a night, there was a time the only Oilers blue who did that got caved every night. I like Larsson plenty.

Oilersnation Radio Episode 106 – The Klefbom Conundrum

Robin Brownlee:

No concern. He’s been in the range of what I’d expect.

Jason Gregor:

Is he doing his job? He never plays on the PP, so his overall TOI will never be that high. Plus if the team is behind by a goal late in a game he isn’t going to be on the ice. His job is to defend and shut down the opposition. I don’t see any correlation between his TOI and what Oilers gave up to acquire him. He is a completely different player. It is pointless to compare them, because many of Larsson’s attributes won’t show up on the stat sheet.

Jonathan Willis:

Not really. The price paid to acquire Adam Larsson is a sunk cost and should be irrelevant for the coaching staff when it comes to doling out minutes. Larsson isn’t an offensive defenceman, and that’s always going to put a hard cap on the total number of minutes he can play. He doesn’t look any different to me playing this year in Edmonton than he did in the New Jersey games I saw last season.

Chris the Intern:

Yes and no. Sure he was brought in to be our top guy, but if a man like Andrej Sekera is having a huge year then I’m not going to complain either. Some guys will outplay others no matter where you should be scheduled in the depth chart.


I like Adam Larsson a lot. I think as he progresses (he’s only 24) through his career he will only get better and better but he still has some stuff to figure out. I still don’t like the trade as a one-for-one but what am I supposed to do, stay angry forever?

5) Theodore asks – Is it realistic to expect Las Vegas to be anywhere close to competitive next season judging from the likely player pool they’ll have to choose from? I’m too young to remember the last round of expansion and I just cannot see the Golden Knights being any good.


I think they could be very competitive if they can spend to the top of the cap this coming summer. LV might be a great destination for free agents, and if they draft well things could get fun in a hurry.

Robin Brownlee:

No, they won’t be competitive. They’ll be awful, as most expansion teams are in the first season.

Jason Gregor:

Not a hope. They will hire a defensive-minded coach and they will have a team of older vets who work hard, and young players who they hope will develop in a few years. It is too much to ask for them to be competitive right away.

Jonathan Willis:

I think they could plausibly compete for a wild card spot, but I doubt they will; to do so would require turning focus to the short-term and that just isn’t a healthy strategy for a team starting from scratch. My bet is that they’ll approach the expansion process with an eye toward competing in a 3-5 year window and that part of that approach will mean being a poor team out of the gate.

Chris the Intern:

I too am young enough to not know anything about prior expansions… and the only knowledge I have is of the Ottawa Red Blacks. They won a grey cup after their second season! I have a feeling that Vegas is actually going to be decent. They should be able to pick a better than the average guy from most teams, the trouble they’ll all obviously have is their chemistry/line combos/strategy in their first year.


They’re not going to get there through the expansion draft but you never know what they’ll be able to add through trades and free agency. Playing in Vegas would be a sweet gig and I don’t think it’s a stretch that guys will want to go there.


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  • TruthHurts98

    The real question is why hasn’t the Monster sieve been placed on waivers yet??? If Talbot gets hurt the Oilers will be a lottery pick team again. Wake up PC! Call up LB or make a trade. Last night would have been a win with an AHL level backup, Jonas isn’t even that.

      • TruthHurts98

        Anybody is better than Jonas. There will be some other goalies available soon too. Signing him in the offseason was a brain cramp for sure. I don’t think he could win in the AHL either. Ellis or LB would be better, the media keeps saying LB would get the call up before Ellis. I hope they get a decent backup because last night’s debacle shouldn’t happen again!

    • S cottV

      Well – yeah maybe the Monster is not the best fit, but we sure don’t make things easy for a back up goaltender.

      Hardly play the guy – put him in to backstop a tired team and you would think, the guys would try and shelter the Monster – to get him off to a good start in the game.

      Play well in front of him to get some fairly easy saves under his belt.

      Then comes the veteran Nuge or in this case Stooge. I don’t think I have ever seen so many consecutive miscues leading to a GA in my life.

      Nuge loses faceoff.
      Nuge gains possession behind the net but gets stripped.
      Nuge regains possession but promptly gives the puck away with a lame @ss pass up the wall.
      Nuge gets beat 1 on 1 vs the guy he gives the puck to.
      Nuge falls.
      Nuge gets back up and fumbles the puck for another giveaway behind him.
      Nuge goes after the wrong guy but gets away with it.
      Nuge pursues into the corner and over skates the puck, giving up possession of it behind him.
      Nuge heads back to the net, covering no one as the puck enters our net.

      How does Staples score something like that? I guess one gigantic dump, contributing to a GA?

      I dont know. A monster is supposed to scare others, but – if I’m the Monster – the Stooge just scared the hell outta me.

      And all we talk about is how bad the Monster is.

      • TruthHurts98

        Ok, yes it’s true Nuge is one of the team’s biggest liabilities with hands down the worst plus minus. Sure he looked like a junior player all night and that play was brutal. But that’s a different topic. I play goalie myself and was saying: WTF? on the first goal. All Jonas had to do was stay butterfly on a weak shot. It went underneath him middle of the net as a weak floater as he was falling over?!? 3 of those goals were garbage and so weak I was thinking oh I coulda stopped that. And I just play beer league. He’s freaking horrible, couldn’t make one good save. 4 goals on 18 shots. So they did an admirable job of not letting him see any quality chances except maybe on that PP goal. The Oilers are in trouble because I’m wondering if the management has the mental fortitude to waive him. TM knew they had no chance to win the game unless they got really lucky. This team can’t score much lately outside of the top line. Moves will need to be made or I don’t see this team making the playoffs. If they do with the current roster it’ll be ugly when they get there.

      • AJ88

        Not going to argue about Nuge’s game last night. It is interesting to note of all the mentions of Nuge’s miscues on that particular play but where is the mention of anyone else that was out there with Nuge. Lucic, Kassian, defence, no mention of what they were doing. Right, they were standing around watching Nuge, Try watching what the other players(Lucic in particular in his own end) are doing as well, it might change your perspective somewhat. And save the “stooge” comments for yourself.

        • S cottV

          In that sequence – Kassian and Lucic pretty much did what they are expected to do – for the most part cover the point men.

          Maybe some minor complaints re quicker support on possession, but – sorry to throw some humor at your fan boy idol.

    • Sir Dudeinstein

      May I ask, if we are going at the pace we are going, would be okay with LB or Ellis playing 1 game every 12? or even 1 game every 10? How will that effect their development playing in 8-10 games in a season?

      • camdog

        You could call Ellis up for the back up game and then send him back down. Problem is is messes with the Oilers org chart, because they gave LB NHL money for 2 seasons, and well he’s not playing good enough for a call up.

      • TruthHurts98

        The beauty of the AHL schedule is LB or Ellis could be called up for a fill in game and then sent back down to play in the AHL. (not ideal) Quick is coming back soon so either Zatkoff or Budaj is going on waivers unless they are traded. There are other teams willing to trade. The reason they’re only playing Jonas 1 out 10 is because they know he sucks. LB might be worth a shot for a game to see how he does. If he wilts under pressure like last year, send him back down. Same for Ellis, but LB would be tried first. There are other backup goalies that will be available. Khudobin passed waivers right? He’s better than Jonas. Anyone is. Budaj was available before Quick went down and might be again soon. Let’s just pray Talbot stays healthy!

  • Mitch92

    1. The question is wrong. You should be asking how many points do the Oilers need to earn one of the top six play-off spots in the West. Aiming for the last wildcard spot would be folly!

    2. No. Eberle is not going to earn another contract with the Oilers so they should be looking at their options. A trade could require up to 50% contract retention so I would expose him to Vegas at 100% contract value and spend the money on CMD and Drai and let Letestu and Puljujarvi pick up the slack. Of course losing Pitlick long term does not make this any easier. Surely the Oilers can find a short term, stop gap veteran right winger in the off-season if they don’t think Puljujarvi will be ready to play big minutes next year.

    3. Connor’s production is the least of this team’s worries. Next question?

    4. Larsson is playing top four minutes and that is what we should expect. I like that the coaching staff has the top guys playing pretty even minutes. Would I like to see him be more offensively productive and more dominant overall? Hell yes but his play is not causing me any concern over the trade. Larsson is a positive influence on this team.

    5. I think the key for the Vegas franchise in its first year is to be entertaining. The ownership should focus on bringing in at least one BIG name and a veteran starting goaltender who can keep them in some games. Perhaps a Johnny Tavares and Roberto Luongo scenario. Regardless of who they are able to woo, I will be shocked if they finish above the bottom three teams in the league in their inaugural season.

  • camdog

    Does anybody actually believe that PC is going to extend Eberle when his contract expires in 2 years? I don’t. Holding on to players that the GM/coach aren’t fond of, does not lead to increase in trade value, it has the opposite effect, players confidence usually falls off the map and player plays even worse.

    Las Vegas is coming into the league this off season. Eberle will have peak trade value. George Mcphee or some other team struggling with offence will make an offer. An offer that was better than the one the Oilers got this season.

    As to the Monster he’s been very bad for a number of years. His feet are all over the place. When they signed him this season I was disappointed because I knew what we were getting. He’s a good guy in the room, that can’t play net. Thing is the Oilers are getting what they expected from the Monster, problem is LB was supposed to be better and ready for a few games and he’s not.

  • S cottV

    Eberle is in the way and getting him outta here in the least costly manner will be the challenge for PC.

    Looking at how Maroon – McD – Drai are playing with a good mix of o zone possession and rush hockey – is clearly the way you want to play. I mean that line is awesome and its an anti miracle that they didn’t score 2 or 3 more in the past few games.

    Even the second line is showing some promise with a mixture of o zone possession and rush. I love Kass but he has to show some tangible offence to keep that line together, although Nuge and Lucic have to drive it. But – even if Kass doesn’t work out, you don’t want to go back to the one and doner – Eberle. Better to acquire Kassian like characteristics with more offensive upside and put Kass back in 3rd or 4th rotation.

    Eberle is not a 3rd liner and is not a fit for the way we need to play in top 6.

    Hmmmm – said the same thing about Yak. No Eberle – is not that bad, but is not a top 6 fit for a PC team.

  • Harry2

    Lowetide are you completely out to lunch? Eberle has been facing lesser competition for a good chunk of the season and he still sucks balls.

    “Scoring like a demon”. Thats priceless!!

    • freelancer

      I haven’t been an Eberle fan this season either but he has spent the majority of this season on McDavid’s wing so it’s not unreasonable to stay he has faced tough competition.

  • Hockey123

    No faith in Chia

    Major Mistakes

    No backup goalie for Talbot. Most people knew Jonas G was not an NHL goalie.

    Trading #16 + #33 for Reinhart in a draft that was considered the strongest in over a decade. Reinhart was in the AHL with NYI and was slow for the AHL and was not the top D in the farm

    Signing Lucic to a 7yr deal for 6m in a league that is getting faster

    • Hemmercules

      Its January, The Oilers are 5th in the conference and one win away from leading their division (Could have had the lead last night if Gus didn’t play).

      I guess some fans are never happy but stop digging for things to be sad about. I’m usually watching less and less games at this time of year as they spiral to the bottom of the standings.

      Chia took a chance on the monster, I’m sure he’s not feeling the love for him right now. And its not like backup goalies are a tough find. I think its safe to assume Gus is a goner before or after this season.

    • Hemmercules

      Prior to the season, where did you have them pegged in on the standings at the halfway mark?

      Should they decide give up on Eberle I’m sure they can find another scoring winger for the 6mil he earns. The trick is finding a taker for all that money. Exposing him is always an option if they have totally given up on him. I still see Eberle as an Oiler next season with an added RW and/or LW via fee agency (Pouliot probably gone too).

      Bakcup goalies are always available. Waivers, trade a pick or prospect. Whatever. Not a tough move I would guess.

      Half the teams in the league are looking for a top 4 offensive dman. This piece will be very hard/costly to get in my opinion.

    • nuge2drai

      I agree with this post.

      That being said, the peices mentioned above will be easier to acquire as the season moves along.

      If the Oilers are in a playoff position with these holes, Imagine how strong this team will be after the deadline.

      Oilers have cap space, D prospect’s and draft picks.

      For so long Oilere needed a #1 Center, a #1 Dman and a #1 goalie.

      The fact we only need a scoring RW, a backup goalie and a #5 offensive dman shows how far this team has come.

      If “clutch” Ebs shows up for the big games coming up.. look out.

  • I think the rules of this expansion will allow Vegas to get a somewhat competitive team. A team of 6 and 7’s if you will. Depending on who they draft, and pick up in free agency, well they may just get their jacks and kings sooner than anyone thinks. I also think teams are working hard to bury guys that would be steals for Vegas. For example on the Oilers, they will likely be exposing one of Pouliot, Maroon, Davidson, or Reinheart. Depending on how the rest of the team was built, anyone of those guys could be a good to great pick up.

    There was an article a while back looking at who would be exposed on each team, or where the difficulties in protecting guys were. And while some teams were pretty lack luster in what Vegas can pick up, others will have to risk losing some real talent.

    Winnipeg, for example, will likely have to protect 4 D in Meyers, Trouba, Enstrom, and Byfuglin. That means only 4 forwards, instead of 7 can get protected. Of them, depending if they resign Staford, they could be looking to protect, Schieflie, Wheeler, Little, Staford, Perrault, and Lowry. If I could only protect 4, then one of Staford or Lowry is gonna be gone.

    Finally as for Eberle, one of he or Nuge will be traded. It’s simple cap math as they will not be able to afford both of them in the coming years. I am personally fond of keeping NUge, as it’s always easier to find a top line RW, especially one who will play with McDavid, than it is to find a second line C.

  • TomAce

    “Ricky” Bobby Ryan should be the guy. He can one time the biscuit from the right side, seems like Ottawa isn’t liking him like Edmonton isn’t liking ebs.
    Ebs for Ryan? Ebs’ iconic moment was in Ottawa after all.

    • Hemmercules

      Let trade an overpaid, one dimensional player for another overpaid, one dimensional player with an even bigger cap hit and half the offensive output. Not even Mact, Tambellini and Howsen working together would make that deal.

      • TomAce

        It woulda been smarter if you said mact, tambo and howson woulda made that deal because it’s awful. But you got no jam, hemmerclueless… Ryan is the better player, a lot more upside than Ebs too. Worth the 1.25 more per year, and the 2 or 3 extra years.. Give me the 6’1″, 200 lbs overpaid, one dimensional guy; who by chance can fire it from the right side and wear down a dman.

        This is not an “indictment” on Ebs, love him.