After the departure of a few high-profile Barons/Oilers prospects, Craig MacTavish announced today that the Oilers have chosen to extend “the little center that could” for another year of play. Well done, Mark Arcobello.
This is an interesting signing for the organization for several reasons.
First, he’s a 25 year old prospect that has had a bit of a diamond in the rough type of career. The Yale grad, who was un-drafted, started his career in the ECHL where Mark turned his hard work into some huge minutes, and a coming of age story with the Barons. One that smacked the Oilers on the mouth in the half-lockout season when Arco looked magical with Taylor Hall and Jordan Eberle. He produces with great line mates, poor line mates, and on the power play in bunches. He’s a prolific AHL scorer, and three years ago no one even knew who he was.
Second, it was rumored that Arcobello was considering overseas play when the Barons postseason ended. I hope he did this, and I like that he subtly showed his hand while not giving away his “tell”. However, both he and the Oilers find value in one more year, and ironically his worth might continue to be more farm-centric in the next 365 days – and that’s good. As MacTavish looks towards steering the Barons into more of a fertile ground for young prospects, Mark Arcobello can fill that role, as well as a younger player with three years of pro experience. After 2013, there may not be many of those types of guys left with the Barons. In that dual role, we’ll see where he hits the Edmonton depth chart. However, we’ll all be grateful to have him up his worth while strongly aiding the youngsters *(both current and incoming).
*It will be interesting to see if Josh Green gets nudged out of the equation as a result of Arcobello. Green, only on an AHL deal, might remain as captain, but wouldn’t it be better to have a strong leader AND a guy that was on the ice for 104 goals last season? Don’t strain yourself answering that one. This also brings up the hunch that maybe, just maybe, the whole notion of “vet leadership” is being redefined moving forward. I like that.
Third, this makes sense for Mark. He began as a wing player, moved to center out of necessity, and has really accelerated quickly with a full head of steam. He’s now one of the most naturally gifted AHL scorers, and with likely no NHL suitors around, he’s chosen to stay within the one NHL organization that “gets him” the most. The Oilers haven’t been tricked, he’s a legit player. THIS is the deal that the Oilers should have offered to Colin McDonald after he won the scoring title as a Baron in 2011 scoring 42 goals. Perhaps the org won’t let this one get away as easily.
In the end, this is a win-win for Oklahoma City and Edmonton. The question becomes, “Where does he fit on the depth roster?” To be quite honest, the signing of another Yale centerman in Andrew Miller nearly had me convinced that Arcobello wasn’t valuable enough to the Oilers moving into next season. Instead they’ll roll with both, and perhaps mold a bit of a brotherhood between the Bulldogs.
Congrats Marcobello! You’ve earned it.