Photo Credit: © Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

WWYDW: The Jordan Eberle Redemption Tour

In just a couple of years, Jordan Eberle has gone from playoff scapegoat to playoff hero. He was invisible during the Oilers playoff run back in 2017, failing to record a goal over the course of 13 games, but he was instrumental in the Islanders’ shocking sweep of the Penguins, racking up four goals.

And it isn’t like Eberle was just scoring to pad leads during garbage time. All four of his goals were clutch. In Game 1, he opened the scoring just a couple minutes into the game, setting the tempo for the series and putting momentum in New York’s favour. In Game 2, he scored the go-ahead and eventual game-winning goal. In Game 3, he buried the tying goal just seconds after the Penguins had taken a 1-0 lead, again giving the Islanders momentum. Game 4 was the same story as he scored quickly after the Penguins went ahead in the game.

This is the clutch Eberle we all expected to see in the NHL playoffs given his knack for scoring key goals at the World Juniors.

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Eberle is heating up at just the right time. He had a down year in terms of production this season, scoring just 19 goals and 18 assists over the course of 78 games. It was the first time in his career he failed to hit the 20-goal since his rookie season back in 2010-11 (this is if you don’t count the lockout-shortened year in which he scored 16 goals in 48 games).

This playoff success will certainly compensate for his so-so season when he hits the free agent market for the first time in his career this season. Eberle, of course, inked a six-year extension worth $6 million per season after his entry-level deal with the Oilers but was traded after his miserable playoff showing to help the team free up some salary cap space.

That brings us to this week’s What Would You Do Wednesday question. Should the Oilers be interested in bringing Eberle back? The team, as we know, badly needs high-quality scoring wingers who can put the puck in the back of the net and Eberle does exactly that. Even if the Oilers want him back, would he want to play in Edmonton again? He got a pretty hard kick on the way out the door when he was traded.

Here lies the 2019-20 Edmonton Oilers season: the whole year

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Eberle will roll into free agency highlighting the second-tier of free agent forwards. At the top, you have Artemi Panarin and Matt Duchene, if the Blue Jackets can’t get either player signed to an extension. After that, you have the second tier, which, in my opinion, consists of Eberle, Ryan Dzingle, Kevin Hayes, and Gustav Nyqvist. Other names who could be in the free agency mix if they don’t get signed by their current teams are Sharks and Islanders captains Joe Pavelski and Anders Lee.

It’s a pretty solid market for free agent forwards this summer, which is a good thing for teams looking to add a veteran scorer to their lineup. Given the fact there are quite a few quality players available, there likely won’t be a bidding war for a player like Eberle, who will fall under the radar behind guys like Panarin and Duchene.

The Oilers are obviously in a bit of a tight spot when it comes to the salary cap. The team has about $75 million wrapped up in next season’s roster, which still features a few un-signed forwards like Jujhar Khaira and Jesse Puljujarvi. the team could save money by selling off players from their expensive blueline, like Kris Russell or Matt Benning, but we don’t know what the plan is yet.

Personally, I think the fit makes a lot of sense, but it isn’t that simple. Eberle is going to be 29 years old in May and certainly has a few more productive years in him. That said, players signing contracts at this age are a big risk. We saw it with Milan Lucic, the Sabres saw it with Kyle Okposo, and the Flames are seeing it right now with James Neal. I would love to see Eberle return and silence his critics for a few years, but I also worry about how a six- or seven-year deal would age. If the Oilers could free up the cap room, which is a huge if, I would prefer a shorter term, higher annual value deal to bring Eberle back into the mix.

What we've learned about the Edmonton Oilers in the words of Ken Holland

What say you, Nation? Jordan Eberle has shown these playoffs that he isn’t the guy who disappears during the big games like many thought back in 2017. The Oilers badly need a player like him who can score goals and produce on the power play. Should they bring him back? Would he even be interested in coming back? 

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Last year, the fifth edition of Hockey Helps the Homeless in Edmonton had a record year by raising $200,000 to assist the Mustard Seed and Jasper Place Wellness Centre in helping the homeless and those living in poverty.

With the event fast approaching May 10 at the Terwillegar Rec Centre, we’re hoping citizens of Oilersnation step up to help, as they always do, to make HHTH the biggest success yet. Last year’s response was fantastic, thanks in large part to the 10th anniversary Oilersnation party that raised $5,000 for HHTH, with every penny staying right here in Edmonton.

In these final days leading up to the tournament, we’re hoping to sell as many $1,000 pennant sponsorships, and $100 Mega-Raffle tickets as we can. If you own a small business or want a keepsake for the games room at home, pennant sponsorships are perfect – you get a pennant with your company logo signed by our pros. With the Mega-Raffle, just 100 tickets are printed. The winner gets a Theatre Suite for 10 guests, food and a bar tab at an Oilers game next season hosted by Ron and Linda Low. Good times.

You can check out the website, purchase pennant sponsorships and Mega-Raffle tickets or donate here.

    • TKB2677

      Totally agree. I don’t think he signs with any Canadian markets. My guess is because of his good playoffs, he either resigns with the Isles or another less in the limelight American team. He will get a 4-5 year deal around 5 mill. A comparison is Hornqvist. Horqvist is slightly older than Eberle. He’s a slightly better all around player who over the years has put up similar numbers – 20+ goals, 45-50 pts. He has a couple of cups. He got 5 yrs at 5.3 mill last Feb. Cap went up, it will go up again so salaries will go up. When Eberle gets 5 mill on a 5 yr deal, whoever gives it to him will regret it.

  • Schmidt Head

    If I were Eberle, I know what I’d tell the Oilers….. but it can’t be printed here.

    Right now, he’s on a team that’s on a major upswing with a very positive outlook and a bright future. They’ve got some very good players and a coach and management staff who are not only proven winners, they THINK like winners!

    Why in the world would he want to leave all that behind to come back to this dumpster fire?!

  • TKB2677

    I have ZERO interest in Eberle. Here is why.
    – He’s 28, going to be 29 in May. Always a big danger in signing older players. You are always paying for what they did in the past vs what they will do in the future.
    – He’s a one dimensional player who doesn’t win a lot of puck battles. He’s having a nice run in the playoffs but watch him, still loses a lot of puck battles.
    – Winning puck battles comes down to competitiveness and being willing to battle. The Oilers already lack guys who battle and compete, they don’t need another one.
    – Had a down year with 37 pts this season but is on a real good run in the playoffs. Good for him. During his time in Edmonton, I always felt he was overpaid by 1-1.5 mill. That was when he was in his prime. His prime years are coing to an end. At his age and the season he had, I think he is a 3-3.5 mill player. Some team is going to see his playoffs and overpay.
    – Here is the Oilers stats goals fore and against for the last 3 years.
    2016-2017 – 247 GF – 212 GA – + 35
    2017-2018 – 234 GF – 263 GA – -29
    2018-2019 – 232 GF – 274 GA – -42.
    Do the Oilers need more depth scoring? Sure they do but what is their biggest problem? They can’t keep the puck out of their net. Eberle does none of what they need. When he doesn’t score, he’s a defensive liability and doesn’t kill penalties.

    Been there, done that.

  • toprightcorner

    If you take away Eberle’s name, the Oilers should not be signing any UFA’s over the age of 28. Players start declining at 30-31 years of age so you don’t want to sign a UFA for any more than 2 years over that age and Eberly will be looking for 4-5 years.

    Connelly, Johansson, Panik, Pirri and Donskoi are all younger, in the same pts/game and will all likely be cheaper than Eberle. Dzingle has more upside, much younger and will probably be in the same price range as Eberle, maybe $750k more (well worth 3 years younger)

    Een if Eberly was interested in coming back to Edmonton, I wouldn’t give him more than $3.5 mill over 3 years.

  • Spydyr

    How about they stop hiring former Oilers and stop bring back former Oilers to play. The Oilers have to explore the entire hockey World not just their small corner of it.

    Some team will regret over paying Eberle. Draft and develop.

    • IRONman

      Need better D. Goals against is horrible. Gf is solid. Ebs will get 3 to 4 million from rangers or team like that. Maybe hook up with Hall again. I think he is good for 20 goals for a few season.

  • Rob...

    Only 37 points in the regular season on a team that finished top 5 in the league. We need to make the playoffs before we can excel in the playoffs, and Eberle isn’t the player to get you there given what he’ll likely want to be paid.

  • Rama Lama

    I would consider taking a swing at Hall ( he was a true driver) as he has the requisite speed and the ability to carry the play and to be a great compliment to McDavid…………Eberle not so much.

  • HockeyRooster

    If they do resign him at least I can wear my Ebs jersey again. I am a fan of his for sure but I’m not so sure he is a logical choice for Edmonton to resign unless the contract is short and below fair market value. Really happy to see his playoff success!!

  • Dallas Eakins Hair

    Eberle I think the Isles would like to resign, if he decides not t resign, I dont see him coming back to the Oilers, just due to the fact that he has already been here and we dont have anywhere near the cap space to sign him and that would leave the bank account pretty bare to fill the other holes in the lineup.

    This might make an interesting media story here, but it just isn’t plausible in reality, not to mention the Oilers can only have so many guys under contract and last year we were right up against it, we cant afford to have that many guys tied up with contracts

    • People blame Chia for the Eberle trade but there are rumors that Todd McLellan had something to do with the Eberle trade. He didn’t like him and Todd criticied Eberle after the Oilers weere eliminated that year in the the playoffs. Eberle might consider since McLellan is no longer with the organization. Eberle should avoid L.A. Kings.

    • Hockey Forever

      Only 37 points in the regular season…

      Which is more than all but 5 Oilers.

      I’ll agree he didn’t live up to his contact in the regular season. But the Oilers sure could have used him.

  • Total Points

    I like Eberle (a 3rd cousin) but I dont believe in the next round he gets even 1 goal. He has always been a streak player . He had 4 great games and a lot of people think he is worth a large contract going forward, I hope he gets it but buyer beware.

  • CMG30

    Doubt he’s interested in coming back. That said of course we should try to get him back assuming his cost is reasonable. We need scoring wingers.

    Also the critics of Eberle should give their heads a shake. He played poorly in his one and only playoff appearance in Edmonton. It looks like he learned what playoff hockey is all about and has now demonstrated what he learned for the benifit of the NYI.

  • Rick Stroppel

    The Edmonton Oilers organization is run by very stupid people. Intelligent hockey analysts realize that when everything is said and done, the playoffs are simply a small sample of a player’s career. In the 16-17 playoffs, McDavid got 9 points in 13 games and Draisaitl got 16 points in 13 games. Only a very stupid person would say “Draisaitl is obviously a better playoff player than McDavid, Draisaitl deserves more money”.

    Eberle only got 2 points in the 16-17 playoffs. So what? He got cold for 13 games. He was then, and is now, a valuable player. Smart hockey people would have realized that he was valuable and concentrated on creating a situation where he could succeed the following season. Instead, the fools that run the team (90% of them still around) got together, cracked open a few bottles of red, and commenced trading him down to nothing (with all due respect to Sam Gagner, who they are considering buying out). They did this because they are stupid.

    Looking at this from Eberle’s point of view, seriously, why would he want to sign with a team that is run by jackasses?

  • BobbyCanuck

    Ebs is playing his heart out because NYI did not make him an offer for next year, he is UFA, his agent must have told him he needs to play his best, if he has any hopes of attracting an offer during the summer.

    So Ebs goes on a tear to increase his value, some team falls for it, gives him $7M/7years, happens quite often in the UFA market

    Remember Alexander Semin from the Capitals? Played like crud, team let him go, I think PTO or a pick up by the Hurricanes, gave him a 1 yr contract, he played his nuts off, so they thought he would be a key part of the team going forward, they give him the $7M/7yr, half way through the next season he started being a healthy scratch, and then they had to buy him out

    I say just stay away from UFA’s, all UFa’s the game has changed to speed, these old (yes, 28yrs is old) guys cannot keep up with the modern NHL

  • Anton CP

    Eberle has one good playoffs series so far and all of sudden that he is redeemed? Can everyone just hold their horses until the Isles reach the Stanley Cup Finals?

  • btrain

    Actually he had 2 assists and played decent against the Sharks in rnd 1. Remember how Crosby just picked up a single assist in the series against the Islanders? You are destined to be perpetually disappointed if you sum up a players entire ability based on one series in particular. Not saying at all that we should get him back, just need to stop losing sight of what can happen to even the best players across the league, let alone a complementary winger.

  • Rob...

    No worries, my comment was on Alf’s statement not yours. Oilers fans may be ‘the worst’, but are nowhere near as biased as our critics who would rag on us if we didn’t sign Eberle if the opportunity would arise, and would also rag on us if we signed him stating it was an overpay.

  • I have watched hockey for a long time and getting cold and quitting are different things. There is no question that Eberle has hands and can put the puck in the net. He is on a heater and I don’t think it’s a coincidence that he and Schultz got traded to the east where they are only seen once a year. Eberle contributed to this mess.

  • This is what the article is about, I didn’t write it. Matters not . I will only be posting to the end of the playoffs. With Kim Jung Lowe, McTard and I cant do anything right Howson, throw in Bobby Nicks who is also clueless, I will be closing the door on this pathetic excuse for a franchise.

  • My bad, did not mean it that way, I would not offer him anything, just on a heater and actually trying because it is a contract year. Then again, if he wants a country club, no accountability team, well we fit that description. Whats next, bring back Schremp and Omark. Nothing would surprise me.

  • Rob...

    And what do you think he’s worth per season? Don’t take just half of what I said and use it out of context. Sure, sign him for Kassian money. Hell no at anything over 3.5, especially given his age.