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Photo Credit: Candice Ward-USA TODAY Sports

Trade Jordan Eberle

Trade Jordan Eberle.

If I’ve heard that once over the last two months, I’ve heard it 100 times. The complaints by those who’d like to see Eberle and the horse he rode in on shipped out of town have reached a crescendo in the wake of the Edmonton Oilers being eliminated in Game 7 at the Honda Center by the Anaheim Ducks Wednesday.

Not surprising in the least, really, considering Eberle’s offensive no-show in the second round against the Ducks and a post-season in which he produced just two assists in 13 games. That came on the heels of an uneven regular season in which Eberle produced a lukewarm 20-31-51 in 82 games. Eberle’s a one-trick pony who is getting paid $6 million to put the puck in the back of the net, so he isn’t turning that trick nearly well enough.

In terms of providing bang for the buck, it could be argued that Eberle produced even less value than Milan Lucic, who struggled at times but provides physicality and intimidation for the $8 million ($4M salary and $4M signing bonus) he was paid, or centre Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, who drew the same salary Eberle did this season. RNH has been reduced to more of a 200-foot player with the emergence of Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl. Still, he offers more dimensions, even if he’s being paid too much for the role he’s in now.

Eberle? If he’s not scoring, what does he bring to the table? Not much is the short answer, so I get the angst and frustration among the fan base. That said, if you’re hell-bent on trading Eberle, I have a couple of questions. First, what team wants that contract for two more years and what will they give up in return? Second, who are you going to replace Eberle with in the top six? Don’t say Anton Slepyshev. Down the road, maybe Jesse Puljujarvi. Maybe.

BY THE NUMBERS

There’s no question Eberle, who turns 27 on May 15, hasn’t come close to replicating the 34-42-76 he scored in 2011-12, his second season. It’s that campaign that, in large part, earned Eberle the big ticket he’s on right now. His goal production has dropped off since then and it’s not like he’s added other dimensions to his game to make up for it.

Season

Age

Tm

GP

G

A

PTS

+/-

PIM

S

S%

TOI

ATOI

2010-11

20

EDM

69

18

25

43

-12

22

158

11.4

1220

17:41

2011-12

21

EDM

78

34

42

76

4

10

180

18.9

1373

17:36

2012-13

22

EDM

48

16

21

37

-4

16

133

12.0

912

19:00

2013-14

23

EDM

80

28

37

65

-11

18

200

14.0

1564

19:33

2014-15

24

EDM

81

24

39

63

-16

24

183

13.1

1542

19:03

2015-16

25

EDM

69

25

22

47

-12

14

173

14.5

1232

17:51

2016-17

26

EDM

82

20

31

51

3

16

208

9.6

1375

16:46

Career

507

165

217

382

-48

120

1235

13.4

9218

18:11

If you’re inclined, you can also look up Eberle here, courtesy of QuantHockey.com. Whether you go by the numbers or just by what you see, there’s no getting around the fact Eberle looked less-than-engaged during the post-season, especially against the Ducks. He looked out-of-sorts and, at times, out of place. Speaking of looking out of place, if you project what the Oilers might look like next season, where, exactly, does Eberle fit? Does he fit?

“Not enough.” That two-word quote from coach Todd McLellan, when he was asked what he thought Eberle had provided early in the series against Anaheim, has stuck with me. I’m guessing we’ll hear more on that front when the Oilers clean out their lockers at Rogers Place today. “When the coach says something like that, you want to perform,” responded Eberle at the time.

“I’m an offensive guy, and my own worst critic,” Eberle said. “You can be great defensively, do good board work and all that. But I’m a goal scorer. I’ve got to put the puck in the net. I haven’t scored a goal yet. It’s no secret.” Eberle might have wanted to perform, but his words rang hollow when the final buzzer went in Anaheim. Eberle didn’t manage to make himself a factor against the Ducks in any way, shape or form.

THE WAY I SEE IT

So, what’s the answer? If you’re in the camp that believes the Oilers should simply leave Eberle exposed in the expansion draft, which means risking losing him for nothing, then there’s nothing I can say to you. That would be the dimmest kind of asset management. I know we’ve seen that around here before a time or two with other regimes, but not on Pete Chiarelli’s watch. So, no.

So, the trade many of you are calling for? Sure. Assuming there’s a team that wants him, you’d be selling at Eberle’s all-time low. Is there a reasonable return out there? I don’t see it. I’ve heard the name Tyson Barrie. Not a chance you get Barrie for Eberle now. Maybe a team with some cap room like Arizona, Carolina or New Jersey — a reunion with Taylor Hall – takes a sniff. Again, even if Chiarelli can find a trading partner, the return now won’t be much.

Like I said, I get the frustration with Eberle’s performance this season and in the playoffs. It wasn’t good enough. And I’m not surprised that with passions still simmering over a playoff exit in which Eberle contributed bupkis, people want him gone. This is where Chiarelli has to step back – he will – and find out if there’s a trade out there that makes sense. Given that Chiarelli has been willing to listen to offers for Eberle for a lot longer than the last couple of months and he hasn’t managed to get anything done, there hasn’t been one.

It’s also worth keeping in mind that Eberle’s worst full season in the NHL saw him produce 18 goals — that was as a rookie. In the last four seasons, he’s scored 28, 24, 25 and 20 goals. That might not justify the big ticket he’s on, but that kind of production is nothing to sneeze at, either. Might Eberle bounce back, become more productive and again be a guy who can get you 25-30 goals? I think so. If Eberle starts next season here and gets off to a good start, maybe his value goes up marginally and you move him. If he doesn’t, how much less would you get for him next December than in June?

I’m on board with trading Eberle. Before that happens, though, just tell me what team wants him, who is coming back and who is going to take his place on right wing and score 20 goals, even in in a bad season? You might not want to consider those questions right now, but Chiarelli has to or he’s not doing his job.

RECENTLY BY ROBIN BROWNLEE  

  • cfour

    This has probably been said but I think the asset is 6mil, which is why u expose him, if vegas takes him u got some nice cushion, if they don’t you are making the same salary retention deal prior to the expansion draft, and why wouldn’t vegas take him he’s marketable with some pedigree, perfect for a start up

    • JimmyV1965

      What’s the point of having the extra cap space? We’re not in cap trouble this year. Oshie will get $6 mill for 7 years and he’s already 30 years old. That would be a horrible signing and he’s the only decent player out there.

      • Mitch92

        If the Oilers are able to divest themselves of Jordan Eberle without retaining any salary that will be huge moving forward. Solid minute munching defenders are at a premium and those dollars will help in acquiring one. Our young guys are going to want to get paid handsomely over the next couple of seasons as well. Cap space is king.

  • E_S_

    If we’re trying to think of ideal trade partners for Eberle, we should think of teams that are lacking offensive skill, have lots of cap space, and want to compete for a cup soon. The Golden Knights will have all those characteristics (I know that Vegas probably can’t be realistic contenders in Eberle’s prime, but Vegas management has stated many times that they don’t want to be bottom-feeders right off the bat, and if their signing of Vadim Shipachyov is any indication, they’ll try to be contenders sooner rather than later). To everyone thinking Vegas might take a chance on Reinhart even if Eberle is exposed, there’s no way; they’ll badly need offense their first year. And I know what you’re thinking and I agree we shouldn’t give him away for free, so why not ask for a pick in return for exposing him? Maybe a 3rd? So we get a mid-round draft pick and we get to keep Khaira, Reinhart, and Brossoit. And we open up cap space, so we can have some flexibility when we’re making trades this summer

    • JimmyV1965

      I think it might be a better play to wait until the expansion draft is over and make a hockey trade with Vegas. They might have some decent dmen to trade.

  • Big Nuggets

    people just like to say ‘asset management’ to sound like they have some business acumen. most draft picks dont turn in to NHLers so tradibg for picks often has the same result as losing somebody for nothing. you just dont know until later so you think you’ve gotten value.
    Im not necessarily arguing to expose Ebs but its not that dumb. 6 mil in cap space is pretty huge.
    I dont really care about his 20 regular season goals considering the measly 2 points in the playoffs. The question is how will we replace Eb’s 2 playoff points? pretty easily considering the icetime he typically gets. Also you forgot Cags. The Drake plays with Connor and Nuge plays RW with Drai. Already replaced without even bringing in a new body.
    Or maybe we ratain some salary and try to swap him for Tobias Reider to make a German connection with Drai. We have options.

  • O.C.

    HERE IS THE QUESTION AND YES I AM YELLING BUT IT IS IMPORTANT!!!!

    Why didn’t anyone, including the Oilers Video Stream, EVER INTERVIEW EBERLE after a game in Round 2?

  • Ar_C

    Just a thought on Lucic. I’m trying to understand the reasoning behind Chiarelli’s signing. Was he making a deal with a personal friend to give him an opportunity to win? It’s quite obvious in my mind that the Oilers are at their best when pushing the pace and playing the speed game. I just don’t think Lucic is a good fit for this team

  • shaner

    if i was chia and i was in charge of this team and looking at trading ebs.

    the first thing i would do is not even think about it this summer unless it was good value for the oilers…..why you ask? because no one will give us good value and by waiting to trade eberle until atleast next season you find out exactly how much drive and motivation he has to turn around this previous year?

    But if I was able to move him this summer, I would be looking at something like a boone jenner, jaden schwartz (i know he’s a centre), kyle palmieri, brayden schenn, to a lesser extent thomas vanek, and i think maybe a harmonic for ebs could work (not one for one, I think edmonton would have to send back a legitimate prospect/eat heavy cap to even the deal.I don’t think these would be one for one in almost anycase besides maybe columbus, (jenner was a 30 goal scorer who struggled this year).

  • Anton CP

    After listening to Jason Gregor show and read bunch of the blogs about the “value” of Jordan Eberle that I felt something was off about that then I finally realized what was it…

    You guys are still stuck in the DoD and the mindset hasn’t changed from then. The current Oilers should be a buyer, not a seller.

    Here is the thing, or at least at Gregor’s case that he was constantly arguing about that maybe to jack up Eberle’s value before trading him for either a bag of pucks or dump him through expansion draft and saying how it would be difficult to replace his 50 points production…First of all, how can you guarantee that Eberle will have a bounce back year and increase his own value so the Oilers will get a better return? If the numbers suggest anything that he is on a constant decline year after year and the only up side is that his contract will be expired in 2 more seasons that the Oilers can just let him walk. Right now he is the dead weight on the Oilers’ cap room and it will only limiting the team growth for the next couple of years, those will be the wasted couple of years. Second of all, IF Eberle has a big bounce back year and score 60 points then why would you trade him after that anyway? The Oilers are not far away from being a constant contender then why the Oilers should sell? IF he can repeat the pass successes then isn’t he the one that the Oilers need? At that point regardless his trade value that the Oilers will not be part away with him. So in conclusion, if Eberle held no value then Chiarelli can try to move him but with nothing in return or Eberle has some value then he is eating up too much of the cap room that will limiting retool the team with veteran players or Eberle has lots of value then we won’t even have the discussion on if the Oilers should move him or not.

    By the way, do not use Justin Schultz as the argument. He was never going to work out in Edmonton due to various circumstances and Penguins are a different team. Schultz was not asked to carry the Peguins’ blueline by himself and wasn’t expected to be the leader of defenseman. Basically the argument is about why the Oilers and Chiarelli shouldn’t move Eberle largely based on optimism.

    Here’s a question, how many of you that suggested the Oilers should keep Eberle were also thinking Hall for Larsson was a bad idea?

  • Krush

    I would trade Eberle to Vegas for their # 1 Draft Choice. Use the money saved for other contracts. At the end of the playoffs, Eberle was a 3rd line winger. Oilers have other players who can more effectively fit that role.

    • DJ_44

      What team would trade a 1st Rd pick for a third line winger with a $6M cap hit?

      In order for a team to take on Eberle, the Oilers will have to ship a prospect or pick along with him, and perhaps get a lesser prospect/pick (or reclamation project) in return.

  • Oilerchild77

    why can’t we say Anton Slepyshev? He’ll be more usable in the top six than Eberle. He’s big, strong, great skater, and he can shoot. He fits in with the heavy team philosophy. I bet playing with either McDavid or Draisaitl that Slepyshev can match Eberle’s goal production. In fact, I have no doubt in my mind.

  • Mcjesuslaz

    come October eberle is gone no matter what whether that be trading him or leaving him unprotected he’s done here. Mark my words. This season showed that the oilers are not just here to make the playoffs but we will def be fighting for the cup next year. We can’t have extra baggage like ebz and poo that don’t so sh**. I predict oilers make the finals next season and possibly win the cup.

  • Derek

    This post completely misses the real reason why he will be dealt this summer. Jordan Eberle doesn’t play the style of game that the Oilers want from their wingers. Period. He doesn’t fit the system and his presence on the roster isn’t doing him or the team any good. Look at the wingers PC had brought into Edmonton. Lucic. Kassian. Maroon. Same type of player. Straight forward. North south, up and down the wing. Hits everything. Shoots. Drives the net. Size. None of these things are Jordan Eberle. He has way too much east west. Likes to hold the puck. Current management doesn’t want that. They want the center carrying the puck and the wingers driving the net.

    I also happen to think that asset management isn’t a huge deal here either. PC seems to find wingers for nothing and I don’t think he values the position. He’ll replace Eberle from the bargain bin and spend assets on the blueline and at center.

  • Mitch92

    The development of Jesse Puljujarvi is key to replacing Jordan Eberle. If Puljujarvi can fill a top six winger position starting as early as next season then the Oilers can ante up Eberle and his $6 million contract to Vegas and spend the cap win fall adding to the back-end. Anyone who thinks the Oilers can get more for Eberle needs to take off their orange coloured glasses.

  • Hockey Buddha

    I agree with you, Robin. We have few options to replace Eberle on right wing. Still, I might listen to some trade offers for him, whereas I would probably not consider trading Nuge.

    Montreal is hurting for offense and has some skilled young defenseman, like Sergechev. Eberle is generally a solid offensive player, but he didn’t put the biscuit away in the playoffs. It’s difficult to judge him on a single post season. He lost confidence and his way offensively, and he was playing against some very skilled NHLers on the ducks. A confident Eberle is an elite level talent, and historically, we’ve seen Eberle become a clutch player. Eberle has also tightened up his defensive game some this season, and he was using his body at times in the playoffs (although not often enough). I think Eberle has value and a place on this team going forward, but Chiarelli has to listen to other GMs, if they want to talk, that holds true of most players on this team.