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Mar 22, 2024 7:42 am

Jordan Eberle aims to help Kraken end skid in clash vs. Coyotes

Eberle Beniers

The Seattle Kraken easily could’ve dealt Jordan Eberle earlier this month at the NHL trade deadline.

Plenty of teams likely would’ve been interested in acquiring a forward with his experience.

Instead, the Kraken passed on all offers and gave Eberle a two-year contract extension.

With Seattle’s playoff hopes dwindling heading into Friday night’s game against the Arizona Coyotes in Tempe, Ariz., it’s fair to wonder if the Kraken would’ve been better off dealing Eberle for prospects or draft picks.

But they don’t see it that way.

“I believe he’s a really good role model for young guys coming in,” Kraken coach Dave Hakstol said. “He’s able to calm things down when maybe a younger guy needs an ear, and they’re able to get a little bit of advice from his past experiences.”

One of those younger guys is Matty Beniers, the reigning Calder Trophy winner as the league’s rookie of the year.

“You see how long he’s played, what he has to do to take care of his body outside the rink,” Beniers said of linemate Eberle. “From the things that he does on the ice, you can pick up little things from his game that you can implement into yours. But I think just being a pro. When things aren’t going so great, he’s obviously talked to me. When things are going well, he’s talking to me, too, just little pieces of advice here and there. He’s a good guy all around.”

The Kraken (28-28-12, 68 points) are 0-5-1 since the aforementioned March 8 deadline, dropping 13 points behind defending Stanley Cup champion Vegas in the race for the Western Conference’s second and final wild-card berth with 14 games remaining in the regular season for Seattle.

The Kraken suffered a 3-1 loss Thursday at Vegas, giving up the go-ahead goal with 1:20 remaining.

“I said it two years ago … the line between winning and losing is so thin,” Eberle said. “And right now, we’re on the other side of it.”

As for being a mentor to players such as Beniers?

“We were all young once,” Eberle said. “We all have people that we looked up to. I think as an older guy, you just kind of show through what you do and your preparation, through your work ethic, through your day-to-day routine. And I think as a young guy, I always looked at that because when you come in, you don’t really know what it is to be a pro and how it is day-to-day.

“You’ve got to get through 82 games and take care of yourself, so I tried to emulate guys that I looked up to. Maybe (the younger players on the Kraken) do the same, I don’t know. I know each guy is a little different, but I just try to lead by example more than anything.”

The Coyotes (28-36-5, 61 points) undoubtedly could use some of that as well.

Clayton Keller, though only 25, could be on his way to becoming an Eberle-type player. He scored for the fifth time in the past five games in a 5-2 loss Wednesday at Dallas and became the first Coyotes player with three consecutive 60-point seasons since Jeremy Roenick (1999-2002).

Wednesday’s defeat snapped the Coyotes’ two-game winning streak.

“We had a good start. In the second, they had a push and we turned the puck over too much,” Arizona coach Andre Tourigny said. “They’re good around the net, and there’s a reason why they’re a Stanley Cup contender.”

John Leonard also scored his first goal with the Coyotes and the sixth of his career.

“It felt pretty good,” Leonard said. “We would have liked to have come out with a win, though.”

–Field Level Media

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