SUN Hockey Pool

Oilers' Eberle an All-Star contender

Edmonton Oilers' Jordan Eberle takes the puck behind the goal followed by Edmonton Oilers' Shawn...

Edmonton Oilers' Jordan Eberle takes the puck behind the goal followed by Edmonton Oilers' Shawn Horcoff (L) and St. Louis Blues' Kevin Shattenkirk (R) during the second period of their NHL hockey game in St. Louis, Missouri, January 5, 2012. (REUTERS/Sarah Conard)

Derek Van Diest, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 8:09 PM ET

If Jordan Eberle played for the Ottawa Senators, he would already have been named to this year's NHL all-star game.

With the event taking place in the nation's capital, the Senators had four players voted on to the team as fans in Ottawa stuffed the ballot.

Eberle has more points this season than each of the Senators selected to take part in the game as starters.

Yet, he'll have to wait for the rest of team to be chosen by the league to see if he's made the cut.

"That would honestly be an honour," said Eberle. "But I think right now, my focus is here and what's going on.

"If that time came, and I actually was asked, I would change my mindset a little bit. It's a good event."

It would be a surprise if Eberle was left off the list of players to take part in the game at the end of the month in Ottawa.

The Oilers sophomore is currently seventh in league scoring with 17 goals and 26 assists for 43 points this season.

He's only five points behind league scoring leader Claude Giroux of the Philadelphia Flyers and has been more productive this season than players such as Jason Spezza, Marian Hossa, Jonathan Toews, Pavel Datsyuk and Patrick Kane, who are certain to be in Ottawa.

"I think he should have a chance to play in it at the very least," said Oilers head coach Tom Renney. "I think we have some other players that could have as well.

"But their time will come, these are great young players that the Oilers have in their organization and these kids should get their due reward and recognition from the league."

Eberle has been one of the Oilers most consistent players this season. He has yet to go more than three games without a point and is currently holding a hot hand with 12 points in his last 10 games.

Eberle's 17 goals lead the Oilers and put him in good company throughout the league with players such as Hossa, Kris Versteeg, Alex Ovechkin and Michael Ryder.

"Jordan has great instincts, he tracks the puck well and has a high IQ for the game," said Renney. "He knows what his assets are, he knows he can handle the puck and deliver it to the net. He knows he can make plays. He knows he has to work hard defensively and has to be on the right side of people.

"He never takes anything for granted and he does everything with the right attitude and the requisite work habits."

Selected by the Oilers 22nd overall in the 2008 NHL Entry Draft, the Regina native has taken his game to a new level this season. While some players struggle in their second year, Eberle has been twice as good, already matching last season's points total.

"I think the second year is the biggest year in your development," Eberle said. "In your first year, nobody really knows you or what to expect and in your second year, teams start to key on you a little bit.

"I thought I prepared well. I had a good summer of training and even in pre-season I felt confident that I could put the puck in the net. A lot of it has to do with the players I'm playing with this year."

Regardless of whom he's with, Eberle has found success this season. He's on pace for an 88-point campaign, which hasn't been accomplished by an Oiler since Doug Weight collected 90 points in 2001.

"Some games you're not going to get points, that's just part of hockey," Eberle said. "But you want to be a threat to score, a threat to make plays every time you're out there. If you look at some of the games where I didn't get a point, I had lots of chances and I just couldn't put it in. Some games when I do get a point, I probably played awful.

"I just want to be a consistent player and not make mistakes. My biggest thing is that I've always wanted to be a player that's always trying to make the right play at the right time."

derek.vandiest@sunmedia.catwitter.com/SUNdvandiest

 


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