KRAKEN

Need To Know: A look at Seattle Kraken leading scorer Jordan Eberle

Nov 15, 2021, 1:03 PM | Updated: 1:05 pm
Seattle Kraken Jordan Eberle...
Seattle Kraken's Jordan Eberle reacts after scoring against the Buffalo Sabres on Nov. 4. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
(AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

One of the bigger additions in the Seattle Kraken expansion draft was veteran winger Jordan Eberle, a proven goal scorer and leader who has been a part of multiple playoff runs.

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Eberle was expected to contribute offensively right off the bat, but that’s not exactly how it went – he came up empty in his first six games despite 13 shots on goal. But Eberle stayed patient and aggressive, and the floodgates have opened in recent weeks. He has now scored eight goals in his last nine games, including the first hat trick in franchise history on Nov. 4 against the Buffalo Sabres.

So, who is the Kraken’s leading scorer? Let’s take a closer look at Eberle.

A native of Regina, Saskatchewan in Canada, Eberle played junior hockey for his hometown Regina Pats from 2006-10. He racked up 155 goals and 310 points for the Pats, and he also won gold in 2009 and silver in 2010 playing for Canada in the World Junior Championships. He is still Canada’s all-time leading scorer in that tournament with 14 goals, but one of those goals stands out above the rest.

During the 2009 championship run, Canada was down 5-4 to Russia in the semifinals when Eberle managed to score the game-tying goal with just five seconds left. He later added a shootout goal to help his team advance, but it’s his clutch backhander as the final seconds of regulation ticked away that will always be remembered as the stuff of legend in Canada.

In 2020, TSN’s “Beauties” podcast took a look back at that 2009 run and spoke to Eberle about why it was so special for him.

“Our family planned all of our Christmas vacations around the World Juniors,” he said. “It was huge to my parents. I think for me to have been lucky enough to play an instrumental part in a game like that, it was emotional for them. For me, too.”

Eberle was drafted by the Edmonton Oilers with the 22nd overall pick in the 2008 NHL Draft. He made his NHL debut with Edmonton in 2010 and spent seven seasons there, scoring 20 goals or more in five of them. He was then traded to the New York Islanders, where he spent the last four seasons before being selected in the Seattle Kraken expansion draft.

He kept up the 20-plus goal pace for his first couple of seasons in New York, and although his numbers dipped just below that mark over the last few years, his reputation for coming through in the clutch continues. In three playoff runs with the Islanders, Eberle scored 13 goals, including three game-winners, and racked up 36 points.

Eberle, now 31, is someone that steps up big in big moments, and that will be invaluable to this young Kraken team as they try to turn a corner and get out of their early-season slump.

Off the ice, music is a big part of Eberle’s life. Kraken fans had a little fun with finding out from a recent video shown on the Climate Pledge Arena scoreboard that he is a fan of Nickelback (Editor’s note: Eberle’s native Saskatchewan is a neighboring province of Alberta, where Nickelback hails from), but Eberle’s love for music is much broader than that. In an interview with MSG Networks during his time with the Islanders, he spoke about developing an interest in music.

“My dad had actually played (guitar) all his life and I’d listen to him but never really got into it until I was a little bit older,” Eberle said. “You know, things as simple as going to musicals I love doing now, especially being in New York there are a ton of the best ones on Broadway.”

It would probably be hard for Eberle not to catch the music bug considering his wife is a music teacher. Lauren Rodych Eberle’s website says she is the owner of Miss Lauren’s Music Studio, where she offers voice, piano, ukulele, and preschool music lessons via Skype.

“We just enjoy it, I think,” Eberle said. “With her teaching it and being around it, she’s attempted to teach me to sing but I think that’s a lost cause. It’s still fun to be around it, you meet a lot of neat people. I play guitar. I’ve played for probably eight or nine years now. It’s nice to go home and just have something to take your mind off hockey.”

It was Lauren who gifted Jordan a guitar in the first place, and by all accounts he has picked it up quite well. Country singer Brett Kissel, Eberle’s good friend, told Sportsnet in an interview last year that he is an outstanding guitar player.

So, does Eberle get control of the music for team practice? He told NHL Network recently that he does not get to play DJ.

“I think Jared McCann’s been running it on practice days and on game days, I think (Brandon) Tanev’s been running it. It’s still early, we’ve got to get all of this stuff figured out, but we’re off to a good start,” he joked.

Maybe he will earn that job as the season goes along, or maybe the reveal of his Nickelback fandom has disqualified him from contention for that particular role on the team.

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Need To Know: A look at Seattle Kraken leading scorer Jordan Eberle