Friday, August 31, 2012

Two for Two: Oilers sign Eberle to six year extension

After signing Taylor Hall to a 7yr/$42 million extension late last week, it seemed obvious what the Edmonton Oilers next course of action would be…signing Jordan Eberle. With that being the case, yesterday’s announcement of the second year Oilers 6yr/$36 million deal to remain in Edmonton, seemed to be nothing more than an afterthought…something the Regina native has become accustomed too.

Much of the hype surrounding Edmonton’s young forward group is often focused on former first overall selections Hall and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. Yet it has been Eberle that has led this team in scoring in his first two NHL seasons. With first overall selection number three on the way, in Nail Yakupov, the All Star winger will likely be knocked down another notch in the eyes of fans outside of Edmonton…which seems to suit him just fine.

In agreeing to sign the former Team Canada standout to such a lengthy and lucrative deal, Steve Tambellini and company appear to hold their former 22nd overall selection in the same high regard as their first overall picks. Considering the twenty-two year old is coming off a tremendous 34 goal/76 point campaign, it’s a decision that should come as no real shock.

While he may not be that “sexy’” name to those outside of the Edmonton marketplace, at the moment, Eberle has been the best of the lot. After showing good chemistry with Hall, both on and off the ice, during their rookie campaign, Jordan took that to another level with the Nuge in 2011- 2012.

The dynamic duo of “Ebs and RNH”, were instant magic and getting better with each passing game. The two think the game alike and took little time in developing what sometimes seems like an almost telepathic connection, something very common in nearly all the great tandems in NHL history. It’s something that can’t be taught. It’s either there or it’s not and with these two, it most certainly is there.

Of the four youngsters upfront, the former Regina Pats star is easily the “least” flashy of the group but seems to be ready to take on a bigger role in the coming season. It’s a foregone conclusion that Eberle will be worked into one of the Oilers penalty killing units in 2012-2013, while receiving even more ice time at even strength. Leaving little doubt, that #14 is becoming a bigger piece of the puzzle with each passing moment.

As I wrote in my piece on the Taylor Hall signing last week, the seven year deal that the former Windsor Spitfire signed set a new bench mark for all Edmonton Oiler players moving forward. While Hall’s extension was a year longer than the pact that Jordan Eberle inked, the yearly cap hit of $6 million was exactly the same.

The organization clearly believes both players are capable of leading this team to where it wants and expects it to be and the following quote from Eberle, after the announcement of the signing, says all you need to know…when it comes to what the two expect from not only themselves but also their teammates.

"We're saying we want to be here, we want to be the core guys on this team. Throughout the negotiations we've been talking to each other about what we want to do. We're excited to be here and with the direction the team's going, especially with a couple acquisitions this summer and with the team being a year older, we're going to have a reputation of a winning team here soon. It's exciting for us but we have a lot to prove still. Team wise we haven't really done much and that's where we need to push to.”

Hats off to Stu Macgregor and his scouting staff, for selecting these two gems. They not only understand what it means to be a winner but are willing to do whatever is necessary, to see this franchise become among the very best in the game…which is something, that hasn’t been said about the Edmonton Oilers in quite some time.

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