Nearly a PPG. Mandatory Credit: Bruce Fedyck-US PRESSWIRE

The Cliffs Of Eberle

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Scale your lenses back to this past season that saw one Jordan Eberle average nearly a point per game.

In a season that saw the Oilers finish only slightly better than their previous two, Jordan Eberle led the team in points with 76 (34-42-76) in 78 games.  Hard to call that a sophomore slump.  Assuming he doesn’t have a disastrous year in 2012-13, you can safely say his next contract will be a good day’s pay.

76 points in 78 games?  Wow, this guy could score a hundred.  Right?

Sure.  Anything’s possible.   I wouldn’t go betting next month’s rent, though, or five bucks, really.

Full disclosure; I’m a big Eberle guy.  If you’re an Oilers fan, it’s hard not to be big on the guy.  His first goal was more than a little memorable.  A solid rookie season followed by a 76 point explosion, all his arrows are up right now.  Way, way up.

I have a hard time thinking he’ll have a repeat performance in 2012-13.

I hear you from over here.  But he’ll get PP time with Yakupov!  He’s only getting better!  

Yeah, I know he’ll get PP time with Yakupov, but simple fact is that he’s not going to score as often, even if he takes more shots.  Sam Gagner isn’t going to score 8 points every game, and Jordan Eberle isn’t going to score 70 points every year.

Why?  Shooting percentage is a huge reason.  Jordan Eberle had an 18.9 shooting percentage last season, which means he scored those 32 goals on 180 total shots.  That’s an incredible accuracy rating.  I’d say he was on a roll.  A nearly 19% shooting is an awesome thing to have in your arsenal, but it’s not going to last.  Eberle ranked 7th in the league in S% among those with 40 or more games played.  To give you an idea of how difficult to maintain a shooting percentage that high for a season, Steven Stamkos had a 19.8 S% while putting up 60 goals on 303 shots.

It’s likely that Eberle’s S% will normalize next year.  And that’s not a big deal, unless you’re expecting him to carry the moon on his shoulders.      If his S% drops to something more like 12%, he’d need to shoot the puck something like 90 more times next year in order to maintain a 32 goal pace.  Either he starts shooting the puck a lot more, or he passes the puck to anyone in front of the net.

It’s wholly possible that Eberle lights the lamp 32 times, or even more next year.  But if he doesn’t, don’t lose your mind.  Think about Nino Niederreiter of the Islanders who had one goal on 74 shots last year.  The numbers will even out eventually.

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