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Jordan Eberle - #5 in the Top 25 Under 25

Eberle still struggles to overcome the stigma of his high percentage 2011-12 season.

Frederick Breedon

One of the biggest off season questions for the Oilers was "What is Jordan Eberle?" A 34 goal sophomore season lead a lot of fans (and management) to believe that he was an elite NHL shooting talent. Others, like Tyler Dellow, saw a good, useful player drastically out performing his underlying numbers.

In order to repeat his performance from last year, Eberle was going to need to either maintain the percentages, proving that he’s one of the very elite offensive players of his generation, or increase his shots to counteract the inevitable regression many thought he’d face.

Year Points/Gm Ind. Sh% OnIce Sh% Shots/Gm Corsi
2011-12 0.97 18.9% 12.84% 2.31 -3.02
2012-13 0.76 9.1% 6.12% 3.14 7.66

My, my… the hockey gods sure do seem to be fickle. Eberle has increased his own shots per game by 0.83 shots per game. His line has also increased the number of shots they’ve taken on net (and reduced their shots against). All of that progress is being out done by the fact that the puck isn’t finding the back of the net. I find it hard to believe that Eberle, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Taylor Hall are a line that is going to shoot 6.12% long term. I also believe that Eberle is going to be much better than a 9.1% shooter (though he’ll probably be closer to that than he will to 18.9%).

Rank Player DOB Drafted Year Alan
JW Michael Ryan
8 Jordan Eberle 1990-05-15 22 2008
5 3 5 2 6 5 4 5 5

Previous Rank: 4

You can see why the rankings for Eberle are all over the place in our group. It’s the uncertainty of what kind of player Eberle is. Is he a top line, near point per game player? Or is he a 50-60 point guy who would anchor a 2nd line on a cup winning team?

Copper and Blue's own President of Hating Clutch Canadians, Derek Zona had this to say on Eberle last time:

It's all been said already by Scott, Tyler myself and others. He got pillow soft minutes, shot the lights out, his teammates shot the lights out and his IPP was crazy. If he gets tougher minutes, has regression in his shooting percentage, his on-ice shooting percentage and his IPP, he's going to drop 25-30 points. I'm not saying all of them will regress at once, but it's not unlikely either.

While I believe that was a fair assessment, I think it’s been over stated and is no longer applicable. It’s been harped on so many times that it’s now swung so far to the other side that we knock him too much for having a lucky year in sheltered minutes. Jordan Eberle has produced everywhere he’s played, including posting some very good numbers in the AHL (including this year where he dominated the league). Despite having an off year percentage wise, he’s still 3rd on the team in points. He’s trailing the best player on the team in Taylor Hall, and Sam Ganger who is having a bit of an outlier year himself.

Eberle has improved his underlying numbers year after year and is now part of a pretty dominant possession line that's doing it against tough competition. That, to me anyways, was the big question heading into this year. Could he (and his line) generate enough new shots to compensate for the fact that his percentages would most likely drop? I think the answer to that question is yes.

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