Eberle

 

I first mentioned the concept of the “it factor” way back in December of 2007. I saw something special in New Jersey winger Zach Parise, who was on his way to scoring 32 goals that season. His big offensive  breakout came only one season later in 2008-09, when he led New Jersey with 45 goals and 94 points. Like Parise, Edmonton Oiler Jordan Eberle possesses the “it factor.”

 

My original definition of the term: All of the past greats have possessed that ability to think the game faster than the competition. From Rocket Richard to Wayne Gretzky to Sidney Crosby, they all have had an extremely high level of “hockey IQ.”  It is a trait that is easy to recognize in the elite, generational talents, but other players do possess it.”

 

Parise has significant meaning to me because I was one of the few who saw his upside as more than a 60-70 point second line winger. back in 2007 I am not one to pump my own tires (on a regular basis), and if you dig through my past articles I’m sure there will be a few duds and misses along the way (Steve Bernier, to name one). However, the qualities that I saw in Parise before he became the star he is today are the exact same qualities that I see in Eberle. I am learning to rely more on statistical analysis for my projections and predictions, but I always listen to my gut when I get a strong hunch about a certain player.

 

All Canadian hockey fans are well are of Eberle. He seems to create magic every single time he puts the Canadian sweater on. Like Parise, he is undersized (Parise was 5’10” and 175 pounds when drafted, and Eberle is 5’10” and close to 180 right now). Like Parise, he played center at the junior level, but will be shifted to the wing in the NHL. Eberle and Parise are not identical players. Parise is a better skater, and Eberle is more of a sniper. Parise is a bit grittier, and Eberle a bit sneakier. However, both players love going to the dirty areas to bang in rebounds and create offensive opportunities. Both have engines with no off switch, and both have a history of clutch performances in important situations. Does Eberle have the upside to one day be a 90+ point player like Parise? Yes.

 

 

I’d assume most professional hockey scouts have their own definition for this “it factor.” Hockey IQ could be seen as a parallel term. Other players that possess this special quality include Sidney Crosby, Patrick Kane, TJ Oshie, David Booth, and Jordan Schroeder. It is developed in undersized forwards because those are the players that have to be smart out on the ice to get noticed. The big, strong, natural athletes sometimes don’t think the game very well, but they get scouted and ultimately drafted for physical gifts (the old adage that you can’t teach size fits in here). One term associated with these smaller players is that they have the ability to be in the right place at the right time. They make goals and plays look easier than they really are because they are able to anticipate the game quicker than the opposition (and unfortunately for Crosby, linemates as well).

 

 

Edmonton has a wealth of young talent on the left side (Taylor Hall, Magnus Paajarvi-Svensson), and a very good young center (Sam Gagner). Eberle only has Ales Hemsky ahead of him on the depth chart, and the talented Czech winger has been mentioned in more than a few trade rumors over the past few months. The Oilers appear committed to giving lots of ice time to their young talent, provided they earn it. In the short term, Eberle will slot in on the second line with Hall and either Gagner or Shawn Horcoff.

 

Short term upside: 25 goals, 45 points

Long term upside: 50 goals, 90 points

 


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James said:

jimywho1
... you mentioned oshie as also having the it factor. do you think he has an upside similar to eberle's in the long-term, in the 90 point range?
July 16, 2010
Votes: +1

studley49 said:

studley49
... I even think 45 for Eberle is pushing it, and would happen in 5+ years after some of the talent around him is moved.

Hall: goal-scorer
MPS: goal-scorer
Penner: not a huge scorer, but still a solid contributor
Omark: should be a solid scoring contributor
...and that doesn't include depth players, linemates like Hemsky and Horcoff, nor any defencemen scoring.

Like I said before, even if Edmonton scores 300 goals there just aren't enough to go around for all of those players to "hit their upside" as goal-scorers.
July 13, 2010
Votes: +0

angus said:

angus
... You see a maximum of 45 goals, I see 50. Is five really a huge black or white differential amount? I don't get how you can make such a bold statement about him not hitting 50, but then say 45 should be realistic. Five goals isn't a huge discrepancy!

Also Maximus, MPS will NEVER hit 90 assists in a single season. You can take that one to the bank. smilies/smiley.gif More of a scorer.
July 13, 2010
Votes: +0

studley49 said:

studley49
... Oh come on now, 80+ goal upside? Only three people have ever done that (Gretzky, Hull, Lemieux) and that was in the 80's when goal scoring was much, much higher than it is now. Ovechkin's the only one to break the 60-goal plateau since Jaromir Jagr did it in '95 - that's once in 15 years.

The "80's glory" is a pipe dream seeing how those Oilers would easily score over 400 goals in a season while now the best offensive teams are lucky to hit 300. So say Edmonton scores 300 goals in a season down the road - you're telling me Eberle's going to score 50 of them? I just don't see it no matter how "perfect" things get.
July 13, 2010
Votes: +0

Maximus said:

Mr Zizzla
Upside You have to remember that the upside is in a perfect situation where everything works out for the player.
it can be said that Ovechkin has an 80+ goal upside, the likelihood of that happening is extrememly slim BUT given his skill set, it could happen. Crosby's upside could be 160+ points but with scrap heap wingers (no offense Dupuis, i still think you're awesome) that's not going to happen. with E. Staal and iginla (as they were on team Canada)this might be plausible.

so in a perfect situation where the Oilers get back to their 80s glory, sure Eberle can score 50 goals, but Hall would have 60 and MPS would have 90 assists.
July 13, 2010
Votes: +1

studley49 said:

studley49
Goal Upside I have a hard time believing that Eberle has 50 goal upside. Over the past three seasons, only five players have crossed the 50-goal mark: Ovechkin (three times!), Crosby, Stamkos, Iginla, Kovalchuk.

Does this take anything away from Eberle? No. Does the upside exist for 90 points? Yes, but I can see a maximum of 45 goals just like Parise.
July 13, 2010
Votes: +0
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