Kraken’s Jordan Eberle at the NHL All-Star Game experience in Las Vegas


LAS VEGAS — It’s been 10 years since Jordan Eberle played in an NHL All-Star Game. A lot has changed.

The team he’s on now, the Kraken, didn’t exist, nor did the Vegas Golden Knights, the team hosting the weekend. But that doesn’t stop Eberle from accepting the privilege of being the first Kraken player to attend the NHL’s Midseason Summit.

“It’s an honor,” said Eberle during media day on Friday. “It’s definitely a cool thing to have. Coming back (to the All Star Game) is neat with a new expansion team. This time I’m sharing it with a little girl and a woman and that part of it is kinda neat. I’m just trying to suck it in and enjoy it as much as possible.”

The 31-year-old forward is attending his second All-Star game, the first since his second NHL season, which included a career-high 76 points as a member of the Edmonton Oilers.

This season, Eberle hasn’t produced that kind of offensive performance with 26 points (12 goals, 14 assists) in 44 games, but he’s on track to match the pace he’s had in his last two seasons with the New York Islanders .

The Kraken went into the All-Star break with 34 points (15-27-4), fourth lowest in the NHL, but finished strong on Wednesday with a 3-0 win at the Islanders. Eberle had an assist in his first game on Long Island since the Kraken picked him from the expansion draft — his second point in the last three games after not scoring the previous eight.

It was also night goalkeeper Philipp Grubauer who recorded the first shutout in Kraken history with a performance of 19 saves.

“He has the same demeanor off the ice and on the ice,” Eberle said of his goaltender, who was a finalist for the Vezina Trophy last season. “You won’t get many reactions from him. He’s been playing really well lately and winning games for us. The better we get, the better we play as a team in front of him and he makes a lot of saves.”

The 15 wins is a far cry from where the Golden Knights were at this point five seasons ago. They topped the Western Conference 35-13-4 on February 4, 2018, ending their inaugural season with 109 points and advancing to the Stanley Cup Finals.

“I think the only difficult thing I would say is that the Knights have set the bar so high that we’re trying to compete with that,” Eberle said.

The Kraken still have a long way to go before they get close to a playoff spot, but Eberle is proud of how his team has responded. Seattle is 5-4 in their last nine games, including wins over the Florida Panthers and Pittsburgh Penguins. The Kraken followed with back-to-back 3-2 losses at the Boston Bruins and New York Rangers, two perennial playoff teams in the Eastern Conference.

“I like to think we’re starting to catch our groove now,” he said. “It took us some time to get going. Of course we didn’t have as much success as the Knights did in their freshman year, but for us it was about getting better every day and building the culture and building an identity.

“In the last couple of weeks, actually last month, we started doing that. I wouldn’t say we’ve won as many games as we should, but we’re playing more consistently and are starting to beat some really good teams. It’s about creating a foundation and building on that, and I think we’re starting with that.”


Comments are closed.