Edmonton Oilers Give Jordan Eberle the A
Edmonton Oilers coach Ralph Krueger announced on Jan. 15 that Jordan Eberle will be a full-time alternate captain for the team.
Taylor Hall and Nick Schultz will jointly serve as the other alternate, alternating (pardon the pun) between the distinction from game to game. As of right now, the plan is to keep Shawn Horcoff as captain.
Schultz, who is not related to his new Oilers teammate Justin Schultz, has been in the NHL since 2001-02, when he debuted with the Minnesota Wild. Interestingly, he played his first game ever against Edmonton. Aside from a stint with a German team during the 2004-05 lockout, Schultz played solely for the Wild until he was traded to the Oilers in February 2012 -he is still the Wild’s all-time games played leader. With the Oilers, he’s played 20 games and put up four assists, but I’d presume he was selected for his veteran skill set more than his offense so far with Edmonton.
Hall was picked first overall in 2010 by Edmonton. Awarded the biggest rookie contract in Oilers history, he got his first point and assist in his first month of NHL play. He also scored a hat trick and a Gordie Howe hat trick in his first season, which ended early due to injury. In his sophomore campaign, he put together another hat trick, had a freak accident with a skate blade and eventually saw his second season end early with a shoulder injury. Still, he had pretty respectable goal and point totals for those two seasons despite the injuries, and recently had a very productive time playing for the Oklahoma City Barons.
Eberle was also an Oilers selection, but later in the first round in 2008. Considered the goal-of-the-year scorer for the 2010-11 season because of a sweet shorthanded deke in his first NHL game, he’s led the team in scoring, been named to an All-Star Game and was AHL Player of the Month twice during his sojourn to Oklahoma. He was nearly a point-per-game scorer last season and has even taken the initiative in appearing in a video for the You Can Play Project.
Sure, Eberle and Hall are pretty young, but it’s not like young guns haven’t been named alternates or even captains (see also: Jonathan Toews; Sidney Crosby; Gabriel Landeskog) of teams before. The two of them, if they can manage to stay healthy for an entire season, could do big things in helping to lead their team. If Hall does get injured again–knock on wood that he doesn’t–then perhaps Schultz can pick up the other A for the rest of the campaign.
Ales Hemsky and Ryan Whitney were alternates for Edmonton last season.