Jordan Eberle has burst onto the scene with the Edmonton Oilers, scoring 52 times in his first 147 games. One word to describe Eberle is sniper. Eberle does not need a lot of time or space in order to get the puck into the back of the net.
The thing that separates Eberle from some others on the team is his versatility and his hockey sense. Eberle can play in a variety of roles at different positions and excel in those roles. I have Eberle pencilled in as the third line right winger in my current depth chart but to be honest, I don’t see him spending a lot of time there. Either injuries will invade the roster like it has in the past, or as I foresee, one of the players currently in the top 6 will be moved. I’ve toyed with the idea of giving Eberle a look as the 2nd line center, but with Sam Gagner resigned, and as long as Gagner is on the roster, he will likely get the 2nd line center spot by default.
Many of the pundits in Oilerville have already claimed that Eberle is due to have a down year due to high shooting percentage. While this may happen, it won’t be so much due to lack of quality shots as much as a decreased role, at least at even strength. The Oilers will have to break in Nail Yakupov, as well as have Sam Gagner and/or Ales Hemsky either regain form or help take the next step. Eberle can play a big part in helping those players along. Eberle should still be a powerplay demon much like he was last season.
If I Could Grant One Wish – Role: Eberle is likely the one thats going to get jerked around while the Oilers try to fit everyone into place and its only because of his versatility. The Oilers have too many one dimensional forwards for the time being and Eberle’s role will be to get other players going, that would otherwise be running cold. The thing going for the Oilers is Eberle is a great soldier and will do anything to help the team win.
Prediction for 2013 – Will Score Less Goals This Season Than Last Season (34) – Lockout may help me out here but a more telling sign will be who his linemates will be. The Oilers have a lot of mouths to feed in terms of trying to produce goals, meaning there might be a more balanced approach to the Oilers scoring than there was last season. Bottom line is, Eberle is not going to lose his sniping ability overnight but what might decrease is the looks unless the Oilers adjust their top 6 accordingly.