Sat. Dec 4th, 2021

Well it finally happened. Can’t say I’m surprised as I have been preaching it for several months. If you go back over my Twitter Timeline it is filled with Eberle rants like this one:

I’m not going to bash Eberle too much now that he is gone I was honestly an Eberle fan for several years. I remember how excited I was watching the World Juniors and I even bought his jersey after his rookie year. He had some good years which in hindsight look better than they really were as we all know that forward group did nothing to help the team defensively. It’s why the kids got their points and team still lost despite the revolving door of goalies, defencemen and coaches. Even a blind man could see that. But he’s a good guy, quiet yet engaging. I really enjoyed rooting for him for years so I’m not quite sure exactly when it all started to change but I guess it was probably after he got his $6 Million contract.

Once Eberle got paid, fair or not expectations were raised that he would become more of a complete and consistent player and help lead this team along (with Nuge and Hall) to the playoffs. I started to get increasingly frustrated watching him every night basically cheat at the blueline or too often bailing on his defensive responsibilites to try and create offense. Hall was the exact same. Many nights the Oilers would be losing 5-0 after the 2nd period then he and Hall would get their points. Started to drive me nuts. That young kid who had so much promise and heart now was content losing as long as he still got his points to justify his contract. That’s when it turned for me.

Fans like to point out his 51 points and 20 goals he got this season but usually leave out the fact he got 3 in 82nd game which was meaningless otherwise it was 17 (3 of which were ENG’s) in 81 games. Well he was still 56th? or so in scoring they say! So what. Garbage points in meaningless games do nothing but pad stats. If you watched every game like I did the last 2 years he was either constantly having defensive lapses or routinely getting called out by his coach for being a passenger. That’s not being harsh or unfair it is reality. The fact is, he has always played that way fans just chose to look the other way since he was one of the best players on the team. Well, that may fly on a 29th place team but when you play like that on a Conference final team you get exposed.

So the playoffs come and go and Eberle goes goalless netting 2 points all playoffs which was not a surprise to me. Would the Oilers have gotten past Anaheim if he and his linemates actually contributed offensively? Absolutely. Excuse – “It was his first playoffs!” Well it was also Caggiula and Slepyshev’s first playoff and they busted their asses a lot more than he did. Our $6 Million RW got outplayed by a bunch of rookies. He wasn’t hurt he just folded under the pressure. No excuses. The writing was on the wall after that he would be gone for sure.

So today Eberle was traded for Strome straight up. I can admit, I have not been a fan of Strome up to this point in his career. I don’t like his inconsistency and he appears to be a bit lazy. However, Strome did score 17 goals and 50 points as a 21 yr old rookie so the skill is there. Also, we’ve seen what a change of scenery can do for a player in Edmonton in guys like Maroon and Kassian. Strome arguably has the skills just lacks the work ethic and consistency. So I am definitely willing to give him the benefit of the doubt and seeing the Oilers save $3.5 Million this year with the trade I consider it a win as long as Strome develops and has some success. I’d be remiss not to mention he has 3 goals & 8 pts in 15 playoff games. Eberle has 2 assists in 12.  That matters to me.

Was David Amber off base? Absolutely not. He isn’t an Oilers fan what does he care? He was just calling it as he sees which is what I try to do. I get some fans love Eberle and are sad he is gone but can you honestly say he has been a good fit on this team since McLellan took over? The answer is clearly no. He could not find the chemistry on the top line or top PP unit due to his ineffective one-timer and ultimately got demoted to the 3rd line in the playoffs after a couple of invisible performances. People who defend him point to his points only. Even analytic people do. My question is: WHY DO YOU OVERLOOK ALL OF HIS WEAKNESSES? Simple answer is they like the player so they highlight the positives and ignore the negatives or try and deflect conversation by bringing someone else not named Eberle up. That’s not critical thinking. I could replay all the interviews of TMac complaining about passengers directly and indirectly pointing to Eberle. Should we just ignore that?

Bottom line, at one time Jordan Eberle was an up and coming prospect who showed a lot of heart and upside, then he got paid handsomely, got lazy and never full developed his 200 foot game to the point where it would be acceptable on a Championship team. He was a nice player to have on a 29th place team but a liability on a Top 10 one. Doesn’t mean he’s a bad person just not a good fit. I wish him the best of luck but no matter how you feel about this trade just remember….

To comment or follow me on Twitter you can at @TheOilKnight.