Friday, November 14, 2008

Jets' Eby oozing potential on back end

Ryan Eby is one of those players that a coach feels safe with in his own end and knows he can insert him in any situation.

This season, Eby, in his second season with the Metro Jets, started up front in his natural position at forward, but moved back to defense in the middle of an early-season game in Flint.

“He started the year on our top line and the first time in Flint, our ‘D’ was atrocious and we couldn’t get the puck out of our own end,” said Metro assistant coach Ryan Skop. “We were looking for a way to get the puck on his stick and get him some time, so between the first and second periods, we moved him back there and he hasn’t been back up since.”

Eby, a Linden native who turns 18 in January, has all the potential in the world, according to Skop, but just needs to polish his high-end skills and playing at a much-higher level is not out of the question.

“Ryan’s one of the most, if not the most, skilled defensemen in the league,” Skop said. “When we partner him up with (Brett) Grech, it gives us a dimension no other team in the league can match. We need to continue to correct some of he small, day-to-day-type mental mistakes, but assuming he does that, no doubt he will find himself moving on sooner than later.

“He’s definitely come a long way this season. Coming into the year, there were some questions about his work ethic and his intentions with hockey. During summer workouts, he was the first guy there, last one to leave and led all of the running drills. He showed a work ethic I didn’t think he had.”

So far this season, Eby has tallied two goals and nine assists for 11 points in 15 games. His totals are second only to Grech, a Hartland native, among Metro blueliners and he’s also tied for ninth in CSHL defensemen scoring (Grech leads the league with 16 points).

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