Jordan Eberle is one of the best Oilers in recent memory. That may sound odd, and wrong, but it’s true.
The term underdog, in the world of gambling, refers to a long-shot, something with very small odds of happening. And, in that sense, Eberle may not have been the biggest Oilers underdog. He was a first round pick, and, based on his heroics on the international stage as a junior, there actually was a fair bit of hype surrounding him when he made his pro debut.
But, despite a hot start, Eberle was underappreciated by many fans during his tenure in Edmonton. As such, I believe that, when he played here, it seemed like a long-shot for him to ever become a highly appreciated ex-Oiler, following his time here.
Jordan Eberle is not a Hall of Fame caliber player, and, while, in 20 years, fans of the NHL may remember him as a somewhat obscure name of years past, I believe that his legacy in Edmonton, in the distant future should be that of a former star. Not a retired-jersey-level icon, but one step below that. This article is my case why.
A few weeks ago, TSN came out with an all-time Oilers 20-man roster. I wrote about it, and the TLDR summary is that I thought the list was horseshit.
I had also made an all-time Oilers list of my own, previously, and two of the three biggest mistakes of the TSN list will be subject of ‘Underdog Week’ articles this week.
The three worst omissions from the TSN list are, in my opinion, Doug Weight, Taylor Hall, and Jordan Eberle.
Hall is a polarizing figure among Oilers fans, but he has a rabid legion of supporters, consisting of any hockey fan who isn’t allergic to statistics. So, I don’t feel the need to defend his Oilers legacy as much as I do for the other two.
Per Hockey Reference’s Adjusted Goals, Eberle ranks sixth in Oilers franchise history, and second to Ryan Smyth among players from the post-Gretzky-era. And while Smyth is well ahead of Eberle in this category, his 324 Adjusted Goals in 971 Games Played, results in an 82 game average of 27, while Eberle’s 199 in 507 results in a full-season average of 32.
Adjusted stats are a little obscure, so maybe it’s understandable that Eberle doesn’t get credit for stuff like that. But, Eberle also ranks fourth among all Oilers in the last 30 years in goals scored. In fact, since 1990, the only Oiler with more goals scored, and a higher goals per game average than Eberle, is Leon Draisaitl, who passed him with his third most recent goal of the 2019-20 season.
Additionally, only three Oilers in the last 30 years have more total points, and a higher points per game for the team than Eberle does: Connor McDavid, Leon Draisaitl, and Doug Weight.
All Eberle did here was produce, and, although it may have seemed like a long-shot while he was playing here, it’s time we, as Oilers fans start looking back on his time here for what it was: One of the best offensive stints by a player in Edmonton Oilers history.