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Photo Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Trading Jordan Eberle is Far From a Sure Thing

This morning in the Mailbag, Steveland Cleamer asked what kind of moves we’d expect the Oilers to do in the offseason and a few of the writers wondered if we’ve seen the last of Jordan Eberle in Blue and Orange. Me? I’m not so sure.

Even though most of the Nation is already sending Jordan Eberle out of town regardless of the return, I spent the weekend thinking about how it’s almost as likely that he comes back next season. Remember last summer when it seemed like Eberle or Nugent-Hopkins were going to be traded in order to shore up the defence? What happened to that? I don’t think many of us expected that it was going to be Taylor Hall that got shipped out before the other two, and the shock of that trade taught me not to expect anything when it comes to player movement.

Something about counting chickens and horses before carts…

THE PROS

Jan 21, 2017; Calgary, Alberta, CAN; Edmonton Oilers right wing Jordan Eberle (14) celebrates after scoring a goal against the Calgary Flames during the second period at Scotiabank Saddledome. Mandatory Credit: Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports

From the Oilers’ side of things, there are only so many ways you can lose a trade and they’ve already checked off enough of those boxes. My point is, are you going to be happy getting a mid-level pick or a bad contract back as a return for Jordan Eberle? I mean, I know he had a tough year but can you honestly say that losing a perennial 50+ point guy for nothing is a good idea? Before you start telling me about how bad Eberle’s year was, let’s look at some of the players that signed in the $6 million neighbourhood last summer:

Milan Lucic – (82 GP) 23G, 27A = 50 points
Kyle Okposo – (65 GP) 19G, 26A = 45 points
Andrew Ladd – (78 GP) 23G, 8A = 31 points
Loui Eriksson – (65 GP) 11G, 13A = 24 points
David Backes – (74 GP) 17G, 21A = 38 points

If you’re mad about Eberle’s production (20G, 31A = 51 points) then I bet you’re furious about how the guys on this list have done too, right? Of course, I don’t really mean that but you can understand the point I’m getting at. Did Jordan Eberle have a bad year? Yes, no one is arguing that. Is he still a better option on the right wing than many others? No doubt about it. Believe it or not, Eberle ranked 21st among right wingers in league scoring and that offence is not something that you can easily replace.

Question: If you’re in the ‘Trade Eberle’ camp then who do you think will pick up the slack on those 50 points?

THE CONS

Apr 9, 2017; Edmonton, Alberta, CAN; Edmonton Oilers right wing Jordan Eberle (14) celebrates his third goal of the night against the Vancouver Canucks at Rogers Place. The Oilers won 5-2. Mandatory Credit: Candice Ward-USA TODAY Sports

From where I blog, the biggest knock on Jordan Eberle is that he doesn’t really play a style of hockey that fits within Peter Chiarelli’s vision. When you look at the guys that Swag Daddy has brought in so far, you see players that are polar opposites in terms of style of play from what ol’ Jordan provides. Chiarelli likes guys that drive to the net, and are willing to muck around in the crease. Playing on the perimeter isn’t cutting it around these parts anymore, and Eberle is going to have to do some soul searching if he’s going to change his approach. At (soon to be) 27-years-old, you have to wonder if changing his style completely is even possible or if he’s willing to put in the work required to get there.

There’s also the fact that Jordan Eberle has only two years left on his contract (Ryan Nugent-Hopkins has four) and that means that a decision needs to come sooner rather than later. The countdown clock is already ticking on whether or not Chiarelli wants Eberle around, and while needing to move him isn’t really imminent quite yet considering they have some cap space to play with and one more year until Connor’s contract kicks in, they can’t let this drag on either. If the Oilers don’t see Eberle being around long term then how can they maximize his trade value? If they do want him around, then what is the plan beyond next season? With only two years left on his deal it could make it easier for Chiarelli to move Eberle (compared to Nuge) if he so chooses.

Question: If you want to keep Eberle then how will the Oilers help alleviate some of the cap pressure they’ll be up against?

WHAT I DO KNOW IS THAT I DON’T KNOW

At the end of the day, what I know for sure is that I have absolutely no idea what’s going to happen and anyone that says otherwise is just guessing at best. Even though it may seem obvious that Jordan Eberle will be the one to get moved over the summer, I probably would have said the same thing last year. To me, moving Eberle over Hall in order to bring in a right-handed defenceman seemed like a no brainer and that swinging miss makes me think that I should learn a lesson from history. We have no idea what other GMs think when assessing players on our roster and we certainly don’t know what Peter Chiarelli is thinking either. That uncertainty makes for an interesting summer, and I’m guessing that what we all think will happen and what actually happens will be two very different things.

  • tileguy

    Don’t need to replace Ebs 50 points as we will be in the playoffs for the next 5-10 years. Pulju should be able to get 30 I would think. What we need is somebody that can get us 10-15 points in the playoffs. Eberle has shown he is not that player.

  • CRONENBERG

    Did anyone else see that interview with Georges Laraque where he was bashing RNH and Eberle? I was skeptical because he was talking in French and I figured it might be fake subtitles and now I can’t find it anywhere.

  • Heschultzhescores

    Eberle is minus 40 in the last 5 years. He’s a liability in the regular season, and he is a cycle ender in the playoffs. He’s too small, too soft, and doesn’t have the heart that it takes to win the cup, and that’s what it’s all about after all.

    • Clarkify

      Show me a list of the players that have played the last 5 years in Edmonton and I bet all their plus minus suck not to mention that’s the worst stat to base Andy thing on

      • Explicit

        I disagree. When did +/- start getting so much hate from analytics? I would argue that wether the team scores or gets scored on when your on the ice is the most important stat in hockey. It’s a team game after all, and scoring more than the other team is how you win hockey games

        • Tooleybuc

          The Oilers have to maximize Eberle’s value. Bad organizations make bad de idiots. If the Oil want to be considered a sound organization, then they don’t give him away for next-to-nothing. I get the addition by subtraction arguement, but I prefer getting some tangible value for this asset. The Oilers have the perfect opportunity to maximize his value in Oct/Nov… simply play him with McDavid, and play him on every power play. Play him in OT… and make sure he’s on the ice when the opposition pulls their goalie. See if he can score 7-10 goals in the first 15 games, then trade him. Maximize his value.

          • crabman

            If he gets 7-10 goals in his 1st 15 games no matter how he gets them you do not trade him. He would be in the range of 40 goals for the season. No matter how hard they try the old pump and dump he won’t score at that pace and if he did he would be more valuable to the Oilers.

          • Oil Can

            Pump and dump, is nothing more than a cute saying. The other teams and gm’s watch games and playoffs also. We have known for at least three years that Ebs is way to soft and week and just will not battle for the puck. Saying that we keep him for another six months or a year or two, is just stupid. We know that he just is not the player for the second line and he is way to small and weak for the third or fourth lines. Do not expect anything more than a middle fourth round draft choice at best. He carries a huge contract and gm’s are not stupid. Players only have real value if they are complete players or on value contracts. Ebs. is neither of those.

  • Not a First Tier Fan

    Got nothing to base this on other than my gut, but you get the feeling that if there’d been a market for Ebs he would have either been moved last summer or at the trade deadline just passed.

    I was a big booster of Eberle. A perennial 50-60 point man is hard to replace easily, and kid Eberle had SO MUCH promise. I’ll never forget his first goal against the Flames – it was killer…

    But his play during the post-season this year lost me as one of his fans. Really? One goal was too much to ask for from Mr. Clutch? Often when he did take a rare shot he never even came close to hitting the net…

    I desperately hope he proves us all wrong next year (cause I don’t think there’s a market for him this summer) – but as of right now it looks like Ebs ‘promise’ has packed his sh*t up and left the building.

    Doubt he’ll be moved this summer due to a lack of takers. Vegas would probably take him if exposed, but I agree that would be terrible asset management and don’t think Chia will let that happen. My gut tells me we’ll see one more season of Ebs in An Edmonton jersey and he’ll either increase his trade value and get dealt at the deadline, or continue to play with no heart and get moved at the deadline for a used bag of pucks.

    Either way I can almost guarantee that neither Pete or Todd want Ebs polluting the locker room during next year’s playoffs. Whatever the timing, something will happen before then.

  • Joeboot

    From the 6 mil contracts you cite the only one I thought might turn out alright was Okposo the others were over paid. From asset standpoint with Ebs, given his 6 mil contract and playoff performance how much is this asset actually worth.
    I was looking forward to some key goals from Ebs given his WJC past especially once they put Nuge/Pou/Ebs back together to play against Ducks 3rd line and I was severely disappointed. Clearly not fast enough or strong (Ebs) enough to compete in playoffs. At least Nuge you could say was snake bit, Ebs however……..

  • Timmah007

    Ebs is the longest serving oiler. He was here suffering just like the fans we owe it to him to give the benifit of the doubt just as much as he owes it to the fans to do his best to bounce back. There is no immidiate need for his cap space. Moving him out doesn’t guarantee a replacement. We are finally in position not to rush rookies into big roles give him another year to see what he brings and to help ease jessi into the line up. The team made the playoffs let’s not run any assets out of town and be proud of the growth and believe in the growth.

    • Not a First Tier Fan

      Dude – he’s been getting $6M a year for a few years now for his troubles. I’m not one of those guys that holds the size of a players salary against him, but the fans who pay for that salary don’t owe Ebs a thing…

      Give me a break.