OTTAWA – The Edmonton Oilers got their man, selecting Jordan Eberle of the Regina Pats with the 22nd overall pick Friday night at the NHL Entry Draft at Scotiabank Place.
“He’s the kid we came here to get and we were hoping he’d be there at 22,” said Oilers vice president of hockey operations Kevin Prendergast.
“All our scouts really, really liked him and he possess all the skills we were looking for. He’s got great hockey sense, great patience with the puck and he’s able to finish.”
Eberle was fifth overall in Western Hockey League scoring with 42 goals and was tied for second with nine game-winning goals. Of his 42 goals, 25 were in clutch situations – either first goals, game-winning goals, insurance goals or short-handed goals – for a percentage of 59.5.
Steve Stamkos, the first-overall pick to the Tampa Bay Lightning, had a clutch-goal percentage of 55.1 among his 58 goals with the Sarnia Sting of the Ontario Hockey League.
Born in Regina, Eberle said it was a huge thrill to play for the hometown Pats. Being selected by the Oilers is an even bigger thrill.
“It’s unbelievable. Growing up loving and watching the Oilers and their dynasties was unbelievable and now to get to wear the jersey and get an opportunity to play there is even more so,” Eberle said.
Offensive talent aside, Eberle is on the small side at five-foot-10 and just 175 pounds. Prendergast isn’t considered and thinks Eberle will be ready in a year or two.
“He’ll get up to the weight, but smart hockey players are smart hockey players and you don’t have to worry about the size,” Prendergast said.
“With the new rules in the NHL it’s a little easier for a guy like me but there’s a lot of work to be done still.”