It took Jordan Eberle 507 regular season games to finally play his first NHL playoff game. However, he’s still looking for his first playoff goal.
The right winger went without a goal in 13 post-season games as his Edmonton Oilers were eliminated in the second round by the Anaheim Ducks.
“That’s a confidence thing, really. The post-season didn’t go the way I wanted it to go,” Eberle said.
“That’s the one that really stings. You take this long to get to the playoffs and you don’t perform and play to your standards, that’s what hurts.”
“We didn’t get to the playoffs without him,” head coach Todd McLellan said. “You can’t completely evaluate him and pin his whole season on the playoffs. Of course, that’s a time where you want guys to rise to the occasion. He didn’t get quite get it done, but he’s a very important asset for our team.
“Confidence is huge moving forward. He’ll get it back. He’ll be just fine.”
Eberle, who turns 27 on May 15, has been one of the Oilers’ top offensive threats for the duration of his seven-year career. Despite a career-low 9.6 shooting percentage, he scored 20 goals and was third on the team with 51 points.
“He’s a tremendous player,” McLellan said. “He scores 20 to 25 goals every season. You can count on it from him. That’s not going away.
“When you get into a playoff scenario and it doesn’t start well for you, it can snowball quickly.”
However, it’s not just a lack of goal scoring that has Eberle under fire. His checking ability was often criticized. In game seven against the Ducks, he played only 12:10.
Watch below: The Edmonton Oilers clean out their lockers, Cam Talbot talks about focusing on being a new dad, and Zack Kassian talks about losing the chops. Jack Haskins has all the details on the end of the Oilers season.
With Eberle making $6 million a year for two more seasons, there is speculation that he’ll be traded over the summer.
Leon Draisaitl will be getting a big contract this summer, while Connor McDavid’s next deal will kick in for the 2018/19 season.
Eberle was asked if he thinks he’ll be an Oiler in the fall.
“I can’t answer that question. It’s not in my hands as to where it goes.
“Obviously, the team took a huge jump this year and huge leap in the way we perform and I love being a part of it,” he said.
“This is a special group right now. This loss in the playoffs is only going to build us into the future.”
Watch below: Edmonton Oilers goaltender Cam Talbot said the team raised the bar this year and is ready to play up to those standards next season. Plus, he’ll be ready to play just as many, if not more, games next season.