Edmonton Oilers reunion with Jordan Eberle doesn't seem viable

There has been increasing speculation about Jordan Eberle returning to the team which drafted him, but the Edmonton Oilers are better-served looking elsewhere.
Seattle Kraken v Edmonton Oilers
Seattle Kraken v Edmonton Oilers / Lawrence Scott/GettyImages

One of the more well-known and popular sayings relates to what goes in Vegas, stays in Vegas. Unfortunately for the Edmonton Oilers, this does not extend to the world of professional sports.

The Oilers travelled to Vegas with a chance to equal NHL history, but ended up falling short in their quest for a 17th consecutive win. They lost 3-1 to the Golden Knights, and there was no way they could leave without everyone outside of the area finding out about it.

Of course in the grand scheme of things, one loss is not a disaster. The Oilers are still well-placed in the Western Conference following Tuesday night's action, and with games in hand on everyone above them in the standings.

What has been reinforced though is that the Oilers still need to strengthen their roster, specifically if they are to make a genuine push for the Stanley Cup come playoff time. This is where the upcoming trade deadline takes centre stage.

In one respect the Oilers are no longer as desperate as earlier in the 2023-24 campaign, instead now operating from a position of strength. However, they could still add a boost here and there, to put themselves in an even better position once the regular season has concluded.

A potential trip down memory lane

The Oilers have been linked to a whole host of players, with the speculation only increasing as we edge ever closer to the Mar. 8 trade deadline. As per The Hockey Writers' Jim Parsons, one such potential target being mentioned is Jordan Eberle.

Of course Eberle is someone Edmonton fans will be familiar with. He was previously selected 22nd overall in the 2008 draft by the Oilers, and went on to play seven NHL seasons with the team.

The 33-year-old certainly had his moments with the Oilers, as he produced 382 points in 507 games. However, it turned out to be in the best interest for the player's mental state to move on and he was traded to the New York Islanders following the 2016-17 season, in exchange for Ryan Strome.

Following four seasons in New York, Eberle was left unprotected by the Islanders and claimed by the Seattle Kraken in the 2021 NHL expansion draft. Since then he's enjoyed success in a leadership role, been selected to an All-Star Game and just last season set a new personal best with 43 assists, on his way to 63 overall points.

Can Eberle help the Oilers

The question is, does the winger really represent what the Oilers need in order to improve their team? Certainly he would provide some consistent points production, which includes him usually being good for 20+ goals per season.

There might be some question of whether or not Eberle would be slotted into the Oilers' top six, which is where he's been playing in Seattle. However, it would be a nice 'problem' for the team to have.

We've already mentioned the two-time All-Star's leadership, while he's also got an excellent hockey IQ. He would undoubtedly thrive alongside Connor McDavid and/or Leon Draisaitl, although in fairness, who wouldn't?

Overall, it could prove to be an excellent addition for the Oilers, who made a mistake in trading Eberle away in the first place. However, the chance of such a reunion coming to fruition, is unlikely to be viable or even particularly smart.

A team-unfriendly contract

The main reason for this comes down to the Regina, Saskatchewan native's contract, with him having a cap hit of $5.5 million for this season. As per Cap Friendly, at the time of posting the Oilers have a cap space of just $1,384,309.

Now it should be noted that as things stand, the Oilers are projected to have a deadline cap space of $2,373,102. However, this would still leave them more than $3 million short of what would be needed to accommodate Eberle on their payroll.

Yes the Oilers can account for this, by what they're prepared to include in respect of any potential return package. However, this then leads us to the aspect which wouldn't be particularly smart.

Oilers need to stay away despite repeated connections to Jake Allen. Oilers need to stay away despite repeated connections to Jake Allen. dark. Next

More specifically, that Eberle is in the final year of his contract and could walk away for nothing at the end of this season. As much as the Oilers are trying to put themselves in the best possible position to win this season, giving up a valuable asset for a player who could essentially be just a rental, is not the way to go.

Ultimately, we appreciate that bringing Eberle back to Edmonton would help the Oilers, but it just doesn't seem to be the most feasible of options. Plus, when you also consider some of the valuable trade assets they possess, they can aim higher and also find a player who won't be gone after this season.

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