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Bold Prediction: I Bet Eberle Scores 30 This Year.

There's not much going on in the Oilers' season. Anyone want to listen to my crazy prediction?

Marc DesRosiers-USA TODAY Sports

It's pretty unlikely that any Oiler scores 30 goals this year. Hall would be our best bet. He's got 18 goals so far. He's on pace for 27, but scoring 12 in his final 27 games wouldn't be crazy.

You know what would be crazy, though? Eberle scoring 30 goals. That would be nuts! I bet it happens.

Jordan Eberle actually leads the team in goals-per-game among players who have appeared in at least half of the team's games. Connor McDavid obviously leads the team in every per game individual production stat, but we'll get to him later.

Eberle is currently converting 16.1% of his shots into goals. That is an extremely high conversion rate, but not absurdly high for someone like Eberle. Jordan's career shooting percentage is 14.3%, and he's actually managed to convert chances at a higher rate, over the course of entire season before. In 2011-12, when Eberle scored a career high of 34 goals, he scored on 18.9% of his shots.

I took a look at where Eberle ranked among the league's most efficient snipers over the past six seasons.

Player (2010-16) Games Played Goals Shots on Goal Shooting %
Steven Stamkos 384 223 1273 17.5
Brad Marchand 405 141 897 15.7
Corey Perry 406 199 1312 15.2
Jonathan Toews 399 161 1079 14.9
Jordan Eberle 398 135 947 14.3

I made 300 games played and 800 shots on goal filters, in order to weed out players who haven't been full time players in the past six seasons, as well as players who shoot the puck too infrequently to be considered elite scorers.

According to these stipulations, Eberle has been the fifth most efficient sniper since he came into the league. While there are other players whose skill sets allow them to create more shooting opportunities for themselves, it's hard to argue that Eberle doesn't have elite-level hands and finishing skills.

While Eberle definitely has fantastic hands, they have only been able to get him to the 30 goal plateau in one season thus far. Additionally, even if Eberle plays in each of the Oilers' remaining 27 games, that will still only put him at 69 games played. If he were to score 30 goals in 69 games, he would have nearly the same goals per game rate at the end of the season as he did in his career best 2011-12 campaign.

But he's already played 42 games, and scored at a lower rate than he did that season. While it took him 42 games to score his first 15 goals, he would have to score his final 15 goals in only 27 games. That scoring pace would equate to 46 goals over the course of a full 82 game season. So why do I think he can do it?

Why, because of Connor McDavid of course. In his five games playing on a line with McDavid, Eberle has already scored four goals. A 0.8 goals per game pace may not be sustainable, but I don't think that 15 in the final 27 games (which would also be 19 in the final 32) is out of the question.

In his five games with McDavid, Eberle has managed to take 16 shots on goal. An average of 3.2 per game. If he maintains that average for the rest of the season, Eberle will take another 86.shots on goal. If he maintains his 16.1% shooting percentage from the first 42 games of the season, those 86 shots will result in 14 goals.

That's without even accounting for the power play, which (and I hesitate to say this) has be visually better since the return of McDavid. Eberle's bread and butter is the power play. One third of his goals this year, and 26% of his career goals have come with the man advantage.

In the past 5 games the Oilers have manged 90.5 unblocked shot attempts per 60 minutes on the power play. In the previous 37 games, which also represent all of the games that Eberle participated in without McDavid, the Oilers only managed 67.9 unblocked shot attempts per 60 minutes on the power play. Yet Eberle has only tallied one power play goal since the return of McDavid, making his 4 goals in the past 5 games even more impressive. My guess is that if the Oilers' power play can sustain anything near its Fenwick production of the last five games, that boost will be enough to push Eberle to the 30 goal plateau.

I know that despite everything I just wrote, 15 goals in 27 games is no easy task. Whether or not he actually gets to 30 goals, my point regarding Eberle is this: He can be an elite scorer playing with Connor McDavid. If the Oilers end up trading him for anything less than a phenomenal return, they will regret it.