Despite Eberle's Play, He'll Need to Be Better Than Good

Jordan Eberle, by all accounts is saying the right things and playing the right way to give coaches and management of the Edmonton Oilers a real hard time deciding where this rookie will spend this coming season. If you ask him, he's ready to start immediately. "I feel that way," said the 19-year-old centre, Edmonton's first pick, 22nd overall, in 2008. "Even in the NHL exhibition game last year, I felt like I was capable of playing at this level."Eberle has exceeded expectations in every step of his game thus far. By all accounts, he's doing everything right. Getting stronger, faster, adding to his already impressive display of skill...but it won't be enough.

Eberle's problem isn't Eberle. It's Nilsson, Cogliano, O'Sullivan, Gagner and a host of other forwards who bring a lot of the same skills; and there simply isn't room for all of them on the Oilers. Eberle could easily make it all the way to the end of training camp before being sent back to Regina and the WHL and if he is, as he puts it, "It's a win-win situation." "I'd like to be playing here, to make that step, but if I go back to the WHL, it's not such a bad scenario either. We'd be trying to win a Memorial Cup and the(2010) world juniors are in Saskatoon."

Eberle scored 74 points in 61 games with the Pats last season, but to Oiler fans is mostly remembered as the kid to score one of the most dramatic goals in World Junior Championship history. I'm sure many of them know too, that particular team, was coached by Pat Quinn.

There is good news for Oiler fans hoping to catch a glimpse of what will be a fixture for the Copper and Blue for years to come. His age means he's stuck not being able to play a full year in the AHL. This means that he's either WHL or NHL to start the year and if he's just too good to ignore, fans may see him a bit sooner than expected and possibly at the expense of a player that to this point for the Oilers has underachieved.

This could be a real motivator for those 2nd and 3rd year guys sitting pretty thinking a spot is guaranteed for them. They should know by now, with new coaching; nothing is a certainty.


You know, I'm not so sure that Eberle is too good for the WHL. He got 74 points in 61 games, not exactly Ron Chipperfield-like production, if you know what I mean.

September 22, 2009 at 12:38 PM comment-delete

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