For the record, I don’t want the Edmonton Oilers to pursue another forward. I’d rather see them spend their trade assets on a bigger area of need for the roster. But I’ve recently heard Jordan Eberle and David Perron as options that were tossed around Edmonton. This is a pretty interesting discussion to have. Both are former Oilers, and the current Oilers have been pulling off one of the greatest comebacks in league history. Would one of them entertain the idea of returning to Oil Country in these times?
David Perron: Currently playing for the Detroit Red Wings, the 35-year-old Perron has 23 points in 43 games. He’s on pace to finish the regular season with 41 points in 76 games. It’s not just offense that he provides, he also throws hits and can be an agitator. Those intangibles would benefit a team that has Evander Kane and just added Corey Perry. He played in Edmonton for all of the 2013/2014 season and half of the 2014/2015 season before being traded. He put up 76 points in 116 games as an Oiler.
Jordan Eberle: The 33-year-old Eberle has 28 points in 45 games for the Seattle Kraken, on pace for 49 points in 78 games. Sadly, he’s one of the faces of Edmonton’s Decade of Darkness from years past. Eberle was selected 22nd overall in the 2008 NHL Draft and a huge favourite among Oilers fans. He’s remembered as a clutch goal scorer for Team Canada at the World Junior Championships and for scoring an unreal first career NHL goal shorthanded against the Calgary Flames in the 2010/2011 season. In 507 games as an Oiler, he put up 387 points. His most productive Oilers season was in 2011/2012, with 76 points in 78 games. He was traded in the 2017 offseason to the New York Islanders for Ryan Strome, who now plays for the Anaheim Ducks.
Again, I’m not interested in more forwards. But if Trade Deadline Day came down to only these two candidates, I would lean more towards Perron. He is a better fit for what the Oilers have now and would bring more to the table come Playoff time, whereas Eberle would be fun to bring back for the nostalgia, just like with Sam Gagner. They’re both on expiring contracts, but Perron makes $750k less. His cap hit is $4.75M, and Eberle’s is $5.5M. Even though I don’t want to sound like Ken Holland always talking about his time in Detroit, he’d perhaps feel more comfortable talking deals with Steve Yzerman as opposed to Ron Francis. With all that said, take into account the question I posed in the first paragraph. Would either of these guys want to come back to Edmonton, even under different circumstances?
In the 2014/2015 season, Perron expressed his frustration with the Oilers franchise when he pointed out that everyone kept expecting them to get better every season until they were left with the same losing results. He lost patience and opted out. Eberle finally saw postseason hockey as an Oiler in the 2016/2017 season. However, he was heavily scrutinized for a lackluster performance of just two assists in his first 13 Playoff games after having a modest 51-point regular season. He opened up after the trade about how hard it was to avoid media attention in a hyperbolic hockey market, one in Canada at that.
Perron’s team has a decent lead on the second Wild Card spot in the Eastern Conference and is just one win away from being tied for third place in the Atlantic Division. Eberle’s team was having the same winning vibes as Edmonton, with 9 straight wins and even a couple of Overtime/Shootout points before that. They’re only two points out of a Wild Card but now have only two wins in their last seven games. Depending on how both teams look at the Trade Deadline, the Red Wings look more comfortable keeping their trade piece for a Playoff game than the Kraken right at this moment. If they do decide to part ways, perhaps reading about a 16-game winning streak changes their perspective on the Alberta capital.
What say you, though? Which of these former Oilers would you want back in Edmonton? Would they, or should they come back?