It was exactly ten days ago that a piece appeared in this very spot focusing on the opportunity that awaited Edmonton Oilers winger Jordan Eberle following the NHL All-Star break. With Connor McDavid set to return from his broken collarbone and slated to play on a line with Eberle and Benoit Pouliot, the chances to turn around what had been a rather disappointing first-half of the season was there for the taking.
First career hat trick for Eberle. Five points for McDavid. #Oilers
— Jason Gregor (@JasonGregor) February 12, 2016
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Well, if their first six games together are any indication of what we can expect for the remainder of the season, it looks as though the duo of No. 14 and No. 97 could become a regular fixture in this neck of the woods for the foreseeable future. After the trio of Eberle, McDavid and Pouliot torched the Toronto Maple Leafs for a combined total of 13 points in last night’s 5-2 win over at Rexall Place, including the first career hat trick for the Regina native, it is fairly safe to say they are starting to click and look more comfortable with each and every passing game.
Yes…Connor McDavid Really Is This Good
While there is no question that McDavid is the straw stirring this drink, with yesterday’s five-point effort being the most recent example, the fact his linemates are already scoring at the rate they are is rather ridiculous. To be fair, the Oilers schedule has not exactly been difficult to start the month of February and despite a couple of embarrassing performances against the Montreal Canadiens and New York Islanders, the level of competition has not been good and Edmonton has used that to their advantage.
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With seven goals and ten points in his last six games, Eberle has managed to not only pull himself into a tie with Taylor Hall for the team lead in goals with 18 but also rediscover his ability to the find the back of the net on the man advantage with great regularity. In the span of a week and a half, the 25-year old has seen his power play production double and not surprisingly that success can be directly linked to the kid from Richmond Hill.
— Edmonton Oilers (@EdmontonOilers) February 12, 2016
With that said, for the first time this season, Eberle is finally started to resemble the finisher we have seen on numerous occasions during previous campaigns and it could not have come at better time. As the dynamic duo of Leon Draisaitl and Taylor Hall hit their first real cold stretch of the year, Edmonton is going to need another line pick up the slack up front and to this point McDavid and company have certainly been holding up their end of the bargain.
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While that may be enough to get past teams likes the Maple Leafs or Columbus Blue Jackets, expecting this group to consistently find ways to win games against good hockey teams isn’t in the least bit realistic. However, one cannot lose sight of the fact these final two months of 2015-16 is not about winning games but rather finding where players fit from here on in. To his credit, Jordan Eberle appears to be doing his very best to secure his spot on this roster but if continues down this same path over the coming weeks, you can bet he won’t be leaving town anytime soon.
Rob Soria is the Author of Connor McDavid: Hockey’s Next Great One. He has chronicled the Orange and Blue since creating his Oil Drop blog in 2011 and has also had his writings featured over at HometownHockey.ca and Vavel USA, where he has covered the NHL, MLB and ATP Tour. Rob was born, raised and still resides in Edmonton, Alberta and can be reached via twitter @Oil_Drop.