We’ve had about six weeks to contemplate the Jordan Eberle trade and the implications of losing the second of the Steve Austins. It was fairly easy to see coming since:
- Eberle did not have a no-movement clause in his contract
- Eberle’s deal was coming to a close in 2019 summer (two more years)
- Eberle was making $6 million a year
- Eberle was not a center.
I think there were other factors (think PC did want Ryan Strome as a possible shooter on 97’s wing and as a mirror man for Leon Draisaitl’s moves from C to R and back again) but those are the main ones. It goes without saying that any player not procured under the watch of the current general manager is something of an orphan.
WHAT WILL THE OILERS MISS?
- What one thing made him unique? Jordan Eberle was a consistent offensive player upon arrival in Edmonton fall 2010. Per 82gp, Eberle had scored 64 points, and he had played 80+ games in two of his last three seasons. That kind of consistency has tremendous value.
- Was he productive last season? Yes. His shooting percentage (9.6) was below career average and may have contributed to his exit, but he should rebound in Brooklyn. His shooting percentage was 14.1 entering 2016-17.
- Was he more of a scorer or playmaker? Eberle, in Edmonton, was a productive scorer, 28 goals per 82 games. He was also an excellent passer but the goal total always ranked high among Oilers players.
- Are his skills eroding? I always like to look at 5×5/60 scoring numbers, for me it’s the Hockey God’s flashlight. Since 2011-12, Eberle’s 5×5/60’s were 3.08, 2.31, 2.03, 1.97, 1.85 and then 1.76 in 2016-17. That’s fairly consistent erosion, although he remained Edmonton’s most productive RW throughout the piece.
- Who are his comparables? Good names, like James Neal and Logan Couture. There are a few, like Derek Roy, who faded after reaching this point, but suggesting Eberle would be especially vulnerable to a steep drop in production would be folly.
- Are his best years ahead of him? Scorers peak earlier than most of us would estimate, with players of Eberle’s quality sliding very slowly downward after age 25 or 26. I wouldn’t be surprised if he scored 18 goals next season, or 30 goals with the Islanders. I imagine the trade lit a fire and that may benefit the Islanders in a big way.
- Is it possible he returns? One thing I noticed was the verbal by player and organization when the trade was completed. You never know, and the Oilers won’t have much walking around money in 2019, but stranger things have happened.
- What is your one enduring memory of Eberle as a player? His first NHL goal, it might be the best one ever. My goodness it was beautiful.
How about you? What is your best Eberle memory?