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Stop Trying To Trade Jordan Eberle For Garbage

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Eberle's having an off year, no doubt. If the Oilers are pondering taking a significant cut at the trade table to move him, they need to take a step back.

Barring a scoring streak, Eberle is headed for his lowest full-season point total since his rookie year.
Barring a scoring streak, Eberle is headed for his lowest full-season point total since his rookie year.
Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports

Please recall the 2010-11 Edmonton Oilers.

It had been four long years since the Oilers had made the postseason.  That's like ninety in dog years.

Things were going to be different in 2010 though.  Sure, the Oilers had signalled that they were ready to go full rebuild. Things were different, though.  Not only did the Oilers have an absolute spark plug out of Windsor in Taylor Hall, they surely had a star in the waiting with the product from Regina.

It's been almost seven years since Jordan Eberle's first goal in the NHL.  It was an electrifying play that started from a Jim Vandermeer pass.  Eberle broke into the Calgary zone untouched, and he made a move that looked effortless as he went to the backhand and manoeuvred the puck above a sprawling Miikka Kiprusoff.  The building erupted as Eberle scored a shorthanded goal to give the Oilers a 2-0 lead early in the third period in the season opener.  It was a moment to remember, even moreso during a year that saw the Oilers win just 25 games.

Eberle would finish with 43 points (18-25-43) in 69 total games played.  Eberle's strong rookie campaign could have seen him flirt with 50 points had he not missed 13 games with a high ankle sprain.

Fast forward a year to 2011-12.  Eberle shot nearly 19% and recorded 34 goals.  He led the team in scoring by 23 points.  His 76 points in 78 games helped land him a six year deal with a 6 million AAV.

The ink hadn't dried on the contract, yet the writing was already on the wall.

The Oilers had signed Eberle to a deal with the idea that he'd be able to repeat (or improve) on another 76 point season, but shooting 18.9% over a season means that there's some significant luck involved.  Steve Tambellini wasn't very good with numbers (or anything else for that matter) and Eberle's deal was as good as done.

Since then, Eberle has put up seasons of  37 (lockout year), 65, 63, and 47 points in a season that saw him miss 13 games due to a shoulder injury.  This season, he's on pace for about 48 points over 82 games, which is a far cry from the 76 points scored at age 21.  For these crimes, Eberle has fallen out of favour with a significant portion of the fanbase.  Hell, if Milan Lucic didn't sign for Taylor Hall money and be on pace for 45 points, the pitchforks would probably already be sharpened.

WHICH BRINGS US TO RIGHT NOW

The trade deadline is on Wednesday.  And while we're watching Minnesota ship their first round pick in 2017 for a crack at Martin Hanzal, and the Lightning trading Ben Bishop for Peter Budaj, there's some call for Jordan Eberle to be shipped at the deadline, (or worse, left unprotected in the expansion draft).

Trading Jordan Eberle is not an option.  At least, not right now.  There's a few reasons why.  One is that the right side is thinner than one-ply toilet paper.  The most important reason not to deal Jordan Eberle at the trade deadline  is that you're absolutely not going to get the return that this team will need for their best pure right winger.  Sure, you can deal Jordan Eberle for a first round pick (bad) or you can deal him for a couple of mid round prospects (even worse), or you might find someone to deal you a rental for your blue line if you're willing to hold salary (barf).

This would be an egregiously poor decision.  Even with his warts, Jordan Eberle is this team's best right winger not named Leon Draisaitl.  Unless your goal is to keep Draisaitl on McDavid's wing on a semi-permanent basis, you're going to need to get full value for Eberle if you move him.  Who's going to trade a top six right wing in two days and take on two more years at six million?

Here's a list of the RWs' goal totals.  I've included Leon because he's spent time at both C and W.

  • Draisaitl (C/W) - 23
  • Eberle - 13
  • Pitlick - 8 (injured)
  • Kassian - 5
  • Caggiula - 4
  • Slepyshev -3
  • Pakarinen - 1
  • Puljujarvi - 1 (AHL)
  • Khaira - 1
Good God, that's a rogue's gallery after Draisaitl.

You can argue me that Pitlick would have eclipsed 13 goals had he not been injured, and I'd argue that you would be close. At the time of Pitlick's injury, he had 11 points in 31 games, eight of which were goals.  Gonna go off on a wild tangent here and suggest that he wouldn't have kept up that 14.8% shooting percentage.   If we accept that it's not likely for Pitlick to continue scoring at a near 15% clip, then it's increasingly unlikely that nobody on the right wing other than Leon Draisaitl comes close to an average goal total for Jordan Eberle. I'm not going to sit here and carry on like 13 goals and 37 total points are things to go hang a gold ribbon on and talk about how great it is for a top line wing, but there's not a single damn right winger that isn't Leon Draisaitl who comes close to Jordan Eberle's point total right now.  .

THE MARKET

I will debate the Taylor Hall for Adam Larsson deal with you until I die.  I will concede that the Oilers got better on defence, but they traded someone who can drive an entire line by their lonesome in Hall.

This brings us to Eberle.  You just got done reading about how the right side is paper thin right now.  If Leon Draisaitl is going to push the second line, trading Jordan Eberle becomes an especially precarious situation.  You've got to fetch equal or better value for Eberle, and there's little doubt in my mind that a deal that helps the Oilers won't be available this week.

If Jordan Eberle is an Oiler for the 2017-18 season, I'll bet you a beer that he'll likely regress closer to his 60 point self.  Heck, if he's not an Oiler, I'll still bet you a beer he's closer to 60 than he is 50.

TL:DR
So relax.  Put your feet in the pool.  Don't think about moving Jordan Eberle in the next 96 hours. Maybe the Oilers acquire that bottom six centre we're hoping for.  Maybe they finally acquire a backup goaltender.  Maybe they find another defenceman they'd like to plug in after dealing Kris Russell for a third round pick.

Dealing Jordan Eberle for scraps isn't going to help the right wing, and it certainly won't help the Oilers win hockey games.