Can you believe he scored that goal against Calgary? Sure, goal of the year is nice, but against Calgary of all teams! Jordan Eberle has certainly been able to translate his flare for scoring big, clutch goals to the NHL. As far as rookie seasons go he performed admirably and deserves a B+.
Canada's young hero came on like gangbusters once he finally got to the NHL. His drive to get to the next level was clearly quite strong, and it bothered him not to have made the team in his first two cracks at it. That's exactly what you want to see out of young players. Having finally made the leap, Eberle didn't disappoint, tallying 15 points in his first 23 NHL games, and scoring the goal of the year for the entire league on opening night.
At that rate - 0.65 points per game - Eberle would have had 53 points over an 82 game stretch. Unfortunately, not only did he not play 82 games, but he also didn't keep up the pace that he started at. Below is a chart that breaks down his point production. Since Eberle played 69 games, I've broken his season down into 23-game segments.
|Games 1-23||15 points||0.65 p/g|
|Games 24-46||16 points||0.70 p/g|
|Games 47-69||12 points||0.52 p/g|
Eberle missed 13 games with an ankle injury from January 3rd to February 2nd, but the injury doesn't seem to be the reason that his production slowed. In fact, he scored 8 points in the nine games after his month of convalescence. That nine game stretch is the last part of the second segment in the chart, where Eberle was at his most productive.
Much like this Hummer-Limo, the problem may simply have been that our man Eberle was getting burned out. He wasn't always noticeable as the end of the season neared, as players that had already had a long year no longer had anything to play for.
In fact, Eberle had a five game slump with no points from March 8th-17th. Tellingly, these were the first games after Taylor Hall got hurt, and Magnus Paajarvi slumped in that stretch as well. Losing Hall - not to mention all those games - must have taken a tole on Eberle's production.
Like most scorers Eberle was streaky last year, five times having spans of 3 or more games without a point. However, Eberle never went more than five games without registering a point, while fellow rookie Magnus Paajarvi had one abysmal 13 game cold streak, and another that spanned 9 games.
Despite all that, Eberle was on pace to fire 188 shots on goal if he had played 82 games, which is more than a larger, faster rookie in Paajarvi. This is perhaps a pat on the back to the organization for allowing the undersized winger the time to grow enough to be effective in the NHL, since Eberle was listed at 5'10" and 174 pounds in 2008 and is now 6 feet and 185 lbs.
Leading your team in scoring as a rookie is not an easy thing to do, but Jordan Eberle did it. Granted, it was an injury-ravaged squad, but the list of injuries included him. Over a full season he was on pace to score 21-30-51, which would have put him just a little behind what Hall was on pace for if he had played a full campaign.
Again, injuries - not only to him, but to his team mates - prevent his season from receiving a better grade because he wasn't always able to show what he can do. The good news is that he can hardly be faulted for that problem. He might not have been rookie of the year, but Jordan deserves honorable mention, if only for The Goal against Calgary. He showed glimpses of what he can become, and that is a deceptively deadly offensive weapon.