If Alex Forsberg is viewed as all-but a slam-dunk for No. 1 in Thursday's bantam draft, a name now very familiar to Edmonton Oilers fans looks like a sure thing to be named the player of the year in today's WHL awards hosted by the Oil Kings at Fantasyland Hotel.
Jordan Eberle, come on down!
"I think so. Just based on the year he had -- second in scoring in the league with a weaker Regina Pats team," said Oil Kings play-by-play man A.J. Jakubec.
"A lot of times, you look at the big picture, as well."
Maybe you've heard. Although it only led to a silver medal this time, Eberle made it back-to-back annual late-game, life-saving goals for Team Canada at the World Juniors.
Come on down, junior Paul Henderson.
It's not supposed to matter to this specific award, admits Jakubec (who was in the crowd at Sask Place in January to see Eberle's latest international histrionics).
"No. But in the end, I think it skews people to look at how good this guy has been.
"You can't help but look at what he did in that tournament and say 'Yeah, this guy is the best junior-aged player on the planet.' "
Fact is, the Pats were patsies without the right-winger who may or may not save the Oilers.
"He had such an impact on Regina. They were so bad to start the year and he gave them some life and put them into the playoff picture.
"They weren't able to finish the deal, but you couldn't fault Eberle for that," said Jakubec.
"For my money he's not just the WHL player of the year, he should be the CHL player of the year.
"That being said, (the Vancouver Giants') Craig Cunningham has had a great year and deserves all the kudos he can get.
"But I'd be pretty surprised if Eberle didn't get it."