Today I decided to finally write a Rant about a player in the NHL who has become a favorite of mine with his flair for the dramatic and his natural goal scoring ability. That player is Edmonton Oilers right winger (and sometimes centre) #14 Jordan Eberle. Now I want to address those who feel the need to point out to me that I am a Penguins fan and that Eberle is not a member of the Penguins. Thank you for telling me this and so what?? Who says if you love a sports team you can not have a second favorite team or a player you really like playing for another team?? Get over it.
My very first exposure to Eberle and what he was capable of, was during the World Junior Hockey Championships in 2009 for Team Canada. There was not a player in either the 2009 and 2010 tournaments that scored bigger goals under immense pressure like Eberle did. The 2009 tournament saw Canada trailing to the Russian team and with a berth in the Gold Medal game on the line, he stepped up.
I sat and watched in shock as Eberle scored with 5.4 seconds left in the third period to force overtime with the Russians, who had thought that they had the game locked up. After a scoreless extra period, Eberle shot first in the shootout and scored. Canada eventually won the game and went on to win the Gold Medal.
The following tournament in 2010 saw another moment in which Eberle was clutch in his ability to score goals. Trailing the American team 5-3 in the third period with only 3 minutes left in the game, he scored 2 goals that once again forced an overtime period thanks to #14. Even though they lost the gold medal to the Americans, thisonly seemed to cement his reputation as a player who thrived on having the game on his stick and he relished it.
Eberle seemed to be lost in the madness of Taylor Hall being drafted by the Edmonton Oilers, but he put up a very solid rookie season in which he scored 18 goals, 25 assists for 43 points in only 69 games. He also scored one of the most amazing goals ever seen, not just by a rookie but in the history of the NHL. What makes the goal even more amazing is that it is his very first NHL goal. Watch the goal in the video below and tell me that you didn’t get goosebumps from it, I dare ya!
Yeah, you can pick your jaw up off of the floor now.
This current season witnessed the continued development of Eberle as he is cementing himself not just as the best player on his own team but in the entire NHL. Why would I say this? Well in 64 games this season, he has scored 30 goals, 35 assists for 65 points. Not only has he elevated his game to match his out of this world skills, but he also developed one important facet that many young players struggle to find….consistency.
Game in and game out, Eberle has been doing everything within his power to help this young Oilers team win. I think this is the reason why the Oilers, and Eberle, have caught my eyes. They remind me somewhat of my beloved Pittsburgh Penguins when Crosby, Staal and Malkin were establishing themselves early in their career.
If this kid stays healthy, I think a 50 goal and 100 point season is not out of the question.