by Lisa McRitchie on 03/08/12 at 03:30 AM ET
As we all know, the Edmonton Oilers finished 30th. Two years in a row. Shockingly, the first time around there was still a 32 goal scorer on the team; Dustin Penner. The second time, the top goal scorer on an injury riddled team was Taylor Hall with 22. This season and in early March, Jordan Eberle has defied expectations and hit 30 goals in 62 games. Of course Eberle leads the Oilers in scoring. The best part is, he’s not done yet and the Oilers will not finish 30th.
By reaching the 30 goal milestone, Eberle becomes one of the Oilers “elite.” Only three other Oilers have notched 30 goals in a single season in the past ten years; Dustin Penner (32 2009-10), Mike Comrie (33 2001-02) and Ryan Smyth (31 2006-07, 36 2005-06). With any luck, a few more Oilers will be added to this list sooner rather than later.
In his first season in the league, Eberle played second fiddle to first overall pick Taylor Hall. But make no mistake, Eberle faced a lot of pressure and felt the spotlight. Especially when Eberle scored his first goal which turned out to be the goal of the year, shorthanded, and in his first NHL game.
Of Eberle’s 30 goals, 11 of them have been assisted by rookie linemate Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. If Nugent-Hopkins hadn’t missed 20 games, those numbers would have been even higher. Especially when the two are paired together on the Oilers’ power play, which is still the tops in the league.
Eberle has yet to score a NHL hat-trick but has come close with 4 two goal nights, something Ebele only accomplished once last year. With his offensive touch, you have to think that one is coming soon.
While Eberle has yet to tie or break any Oilers’ record like Sam Gagner, he has certainly come close. Tuesday night in San Jose, Eberle’s goal came a mere 10 seconds into the game. Wayne Gretzky’s record for fastest goal is 8 seconds, and likely to remain intact for years to come.
“I don’t know if I’ve ever scored a faster goal … it’s sure up there. We kind of caught them off-guard. I got a bounce and found a way to put it into the net,” said Eberle. It was the fastest goal ever scored against the Sharks, who have been in the league 20 years.
Through all of the Oilers games and injuries, Eberle has been the team’s most congenial player. And so, Eberle should be in consideration for the Lady Byng this year. Sitting at 12th in NHL scoring, Eberle has 30 goals, 63 points and only 8 penalty minutes. The only player with more points and still very few penalty minutes is Marian Hossa who has 64 points has 16 PIM.
Eberle may not reach 50, especially not this season but not many players do. Only a single player notched 50 in the 2010-11 season. But 35-40 may just be a possibility after all, there are 16 games remaining in the Oilers’ season.
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Lisa McRitchie is a fairly new writer, online at least, but makes up for inexperience with passion for the game of hockey and memories of Mrs. Leskiw’s English AP class; who knew they would pay off one day.
Oil Patch focuses on the Edmonton Oilers, the Edmonton Oil Kings, The Oklahoma City Barons and Team Canada Hockey with game coverage, news updates, speculation and interviews.
Although the Oilers have had a difficult past decade… or three, here at Oil Patch, the future looks bright.
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