TRAINING CAMP HOPEFUL #5: MARK ARCOBELLO

Craig MacTavish played center for 112 seasons in the NHL, I imagine he learned a thing or two about playing the position. His verbal this summer about center has been the following: he’s happy with the depth, confident they can make a go of it.

  • MacT: “[Mark] Arcobello will get a good look, Andrew Miller, Will Acton, Anton Lander. I’m sure we’ll be able to offset Nuge’s absence in the short term.”

RE 13-14: 25, 2-6-8

I believe this means one (or more) of the following is true:

  1. Internal estimates for the Nuge’s return are more promising than we’re being led to believe.
  2. The Oilers believe they can trade for an attractive option before training camp.
  3. The Oilers believe the waiver wire can give them a needed boost.
  4. MacT believes in Anton Lander more than the fanbase.
  5. One of the wingers is going to play out of position.
  6. Andrew Miller is a hypnotist.
  7. Mark Arcobello is going to play the role of jack-of-all-trades forward, in the grand tradition of former Oiler Mark Lamb.

All seem logical, I’m betting at least part of the thinking is that the club sees Arcobello as someone with enough offense and overall skill to be an ideal 13th forward/5th center when all is said and done. His NHL salary ($600,000) is a bargain and his minor league salary ($175,000) is #36 in the AHL. Among centers who are outside the top 4 heading into camp (Nuge, Gagner, Gordon, Lander) I rank Arcobello as the likely winner of the open auditions.

arcobello ferguson

(Photos by Rob Ferguson, all rights reserved)

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42 Responses to "TRAINING CAMP HOPEFUL #5: MARK ARCOBELLO"

  1. dessert1111 says:

    Arco is a tough guy to peg for RE. He could never make it to the NHL roster, or he could play close to 82 games in a utility role. If I were him I’d be nervous as hell.

  2. regwald says:

    My gut tells me it is Nuge being ready early. If a trade was available for a center, I think MacT would have pulled the trigger already. I think most GMs have their roster figured out from a cap perspective already.

    My view is that the center spot is too weak even with Nuge starting on opening night. The Achilles heal of this club, closely followed by the bottom 6.

  3. russ99 says:

    What I find most puzzling about the center position issue, is that everywhere else MacT has worked hard in the offseason to find a safety net at positions where the plan may not work.

    That’s why he’s bringing 10-12 defensemen to camp, in case Klefbom, Belov, etc. aren’t ready/to foster competition for spots and why he signed Labarbara and Bachmann to back up in net.

    If Nuge can’t play the first month and Gagner or Gordon get hurt, what do we do then? Surely not Smyth at center, we had to have learned something from Tambellini’s folly last season…

    I’m really hoping for a few decent camp invites. That’s not to slam Arcobello, we could do worse in a 13th/14th forward.

  4. Romulus Apotheosis says:

    I’m not going to stop proclaiming my confusion.

    Why is he 5th on this list? Is this a random list? or is meant to be read in an ordinal fashion?

    I demand Order!

    ——–
    I’ve been cheering Arco, Rajala and Miller for the 13/14 spots all Summer. Hope MacT is true to his word when he said he was frustrated Tambo didn’t give Arco a bigger shot last year.

  5. Romulus Apotheosis says:

    I hope we sign Steckel to Lapierre’s contract and let Lander Miller, Rajala and Arco fight for the 13/14 spot anyway.

  6. Lowetide says:

    Romulus Apotheosis:
    I’m not going to stop proclaiming my confusion.

    Why is he 5th on this list? Is this a random list? or is meant to be read in an ordinal fashion?

    I demand Order!

    ——–
    I’ve been cheering Arco, Rajala and Miller for the 13/14 spots all Summer. Hope MacT is true to his word when he said he was frustrated Tambo didn’t give Arco a bigger shot last year.

    I’m going (basically) by games played. Among the “hopefuls” on this list, he has the second most GP. Tomorrow’s hopeful–the final one btw–will be projected to play more games. than Arco.

  7. Romulus Apotheosis says:

    Lowetide: I’m going (basically) by games played. Among the “hopefuls” on this list, he has the second most GP. Tomorrow’s hopeful–the final one btw–will be projected to play more games. than Arco.

    Shouldn’t you be counting down then?

    Numbers work a strange voodoo on people and you’re freaking me out man!

    ——–
    how much credence should be give the fact that Miller was MacT first real move? He tried for Dekeyser and Knight, but got Miller.

    I’m thinking you end up liking the first girl that finally said “yes” to dance with you at the middle school dance a lot more than you would under normal circumstances.

  8. Lowetide says:

    Rom: No, because tomorrow night’s hopeful and Wednesday mornings RW intersect.

  9. Zipdot says:

    “Veteran Eric Belanger admitted he is more old school and that celebrations like Yakupov’s weren’t part of the game earlier in his career. Nor did he think the winger was going to be quite so expressive time and again.”

    Is that the quote Lowetide is talking about?

    I still think there’s something I’m missing; what did Yakupov say to Belanger that made him a “human bullshit detector”?

    :(

  10. Melman says:

    One of the other items MacT accomplished this summer was shedding contracts. Per Capgeek we’re at 47 – so there is room for a TC invite. It could well be a guy like Steckel, Malhotra or Cleary doesn’t get a contract to start this season, but gets an invite instead. Tough call as a GM: at some point you need to give guys in your system an opportunity to show if they can make the jump or the org. loses credibility with the kids on the farm and the AHL vets a team needs. On the other hand winning at the NHL level is the whole point. Really though 2 weeks of the 4C spot shouldn’t be the difference between playoffs or not.

    You want to feel nervous about C depth? Have a look at Van’s roster. Yikes!

  11. Zipdot says:

    There’s a tweet at the bottom of this page that references an “Arcobello to Sweden” rumour. Is this outdated or….??

  12. theres oil in virginia says:

    Zipdot:
    “Veteran Eric Belanger admitted he is more old school and that celebrations like Yakupov’s weren’t part of the game earlier in his career. Nor did he think the winger was going to be quite so expressive time and again.”

    Is that the quote Lowetide is talking about?

    I still think there’s something I’m missing; what did Yakupov say to Belanger that made him a “human bullshit detector”?

    Yeah, I missed all of the “Belanger hates Yakupov” stuff too. Until Rom mentioned Horc and Smyth coming over to Belanger in the video, I had no idea this existed. I musta been in a closet somewhere.

    That article by Joanne Ireland was all I could find either.

  13. Romulus Apotheosis says:

    Zipdot:
    There’s a tweet at the bottom of this page that references an “Arcobello to Sweden” rumour.Is this outdated or….??

    That rumor is from June.

    Oil signed arco after that… clearly the two sides came together. Judging by the contract, MacT’s verbal and lack of adding a C so far… some kind of quid pro quo was exchanged with Arco, Miller and Acton in the range of “you will get a chance to show your stuff under my watch”

    http://oilers.nhl.com/club/news.htm?id=673981

  14. Zipdot says:

    theres oil in virginia: Yeah, I missed all of the “Belanger hates Yakupov” stuff too. Until Rom mentioned Horc and Smyth coming over to Belanger in the video, I had no idea this existed. I musta been in a closet somewhere.

    That article by Joanne Ireland was all I could find either.

    Ah, I found something more:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M-OJgZkiunA

    Belanger says: “I’m not going to chase him around the ice for 5 minutes,,,” to catch him during his celly. Hah, what a guy. “We’re not going to chase him around the ice like that.”

  15. Zipdot says:

    Romulus Apotheosis: That rumor is from June.

    Ah, of course. Duhh. Thanks.

    Romulus Apotheosis: Oil signed arco after that… clearly the two sides came together. Judging by the contract, MacT’s verbal and lack of adding a C so far… some kind of quid pro quo was exchanged with Arco, Miller and Acton in the range of “you will get a chance to show your stuff under my watch”

    I do like the sound of this approach. If only Miller’s numbers were more consistent before he bumped them up last season, I’d have some faith that he or Arco could be a real answer…

    I saw Arcobello play in person many times, and from day one, he looked good and he played in a variety of situations. Maintaining his numbers without the stars is a great sign (for Marincin too). Here’s hoping…

  16. Romulus Apotheosis says:

    Zipdot:
    “Veteran Eric Belanger admitted he is more old school and that celebrations like Yakupov’s weren’t part of the game earlier in his career. Nor did he think the winger was going to be quite so expressive time and again.”

    Is that the quote Lowetide is talking about?

    I still think there’s something I’m missing; what did Yakupov say to Belanger that made him a “human bullshit detector”?

    Here’s the “stick in the mud” routine by Belanger:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M-OJgZkiunA

    The response — see also my last post in the last thread — is classic. It’s from an ON interview (with their Russian correspondent).

    AO: Who’s the biggest jokester on your team?

    NY: I’d say it’s Eric Belanger. He’s from Quebec. He really cracks me up. He’s got quite a few years under his belt, but I’m telling you – his jokes are the best! You just gotta love him! He’s telling all sorts of stories, does impressions and so on. I love it.

    http://oilersnation.com/2013/3/2/yakupov-you-want-to-out-there-and-win-games-just-because-of-krueger

    Most of us interpreted this as Yak saying he finds Belanger funny because he flat out doesn’t respond to the old man authority routine.

    Think of a party. Everyone is having a good time. Some kill joy (at the party) says we shouldn’t drink so much, have the music so loud, etc. Most people would think that guy sucks. Yakupov, drink in hand, girl on each arm, dancing away, thinks this guy is hilarious.

  17. theres oil in virginia says:

    Zipdot: Ah, I found something more:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M-OJgZkiunA

    Belanger says: “I’m not going to chase him around the ice for 5 minutes,,,” to catch him during his celly.Hah, what a guy.“We’re not going to chase him around the ice like that.”

    Thanks. I guess Belanger was a bit of a sour puss. Maybe he forgot how to celebrate a goal…you know, after he forgot how to score one.

  18. Lowetide says:

    I think Belanger’s biggest problem probably (I have zero evidence) came from not getting the role he signed on to do with the Oilers. jmo.

  19. theres oil in virginia says:

    Lowetide:
    I think Belanger’s biggest problem probably (I have zero evidence) came from not getting the role he signed on to do with the Oilers. jmo.

    You mean he didn’t sign on to have 20% offensive zone starts and dead weight for line mates? What a jerk.

  20. Romulus Apotheosis says:

    Lowetide:
    I think Belanger’s biggest problem probably (I have zero evidence) came from not getting the role he signed on to do with the Oilers. jmo.

    I had completely forgotten until you posted your recap of opening night lineups recently, that Renney started him on the first line.

    http://lowetide.ca/blog/2013/07/overture-curtains-lights.html

    I’m not saying he was promised 1st line assignments. But I think it is reasonable to guess he was told he would see 3C time. But… I don’t know how he and his agent could have figured that.

    The team (in 2011… once Gagner returns from injury) had Gagner, Horcoff, the young RNH, Belanger and coach/GM that wanted to push Lander… how could Belanger have possibly seen himself clear of Gagner and Horcoff? The only possibility is that he assumed in year one RNH would be on the 4th line or in the minors.

    That seems like a bad bet for UFA to take on 1st OV. Regardless… he must have known on year 2 and 3 he’d be buried on this team.

    Maybe it was specialty teams?

    At any rate, aside from “personality and assignment” issues… Belanger’s biggest issue seems to be the same all not-terribly-offensively-gifted-players-who-log-a-lot-of-thankless-minutes is… they seem to nose dive in the early 30s.

    We should keep a close eye on the last year of Gordon’s contract and be watching Ference like a hawk.

  21. Lowetide says:

    theres oil in virginia: You mean he didn’t sign on to have 20% offensive zone starts and dead weight for line mates?What a jerk.

    I don’t think he was a jerk if that’s true. Most of us would react the same way.

  22. Romulus Apotheosis says:

    One thing I’ll say about Belanger as positive.

    He often looked like he was giving it the old college try. His shooting % hit the center of the planet as an Oiler

    http://www.nhl.com/ice/player.htm?id=8465050

    and I did admire him lacing up with that broken foot this year when Tambo refused to solve a problem.

    I think his problems were mostly his body and chance coming home to roost and his coming to awkward, sad terms with it. I hope he has better luck in the K.

  23. Romulus Apotheosis says:

    theres oil in virginia: You mean he didn’t sign on to have 20% offensive zone starts and dead weight for line mates?What a jerk.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tcwz8-EfFYE

    he hates these cans!!

  24. theres oil in virginia says:

    Romulus Apotheosis,
    Ha. That’s hilarious. I’ve never seen that.

    Lowetide,
    Sorry, sometimes I take it for granted that my heavy sarcasm comes through in my posts. That was a triple dose of sarcasm (20%, dead weight, jerk).
    I try not to be too serious about most things (it keeps my blood pressure down), so it’s pretty safe to assume that I’m smiling when I post something…unless it’s about Eberle vs Hemsky, then it’s no joke buddy. :\

  25. Lowetide says:

    Oil: lol. Cool. You’ll LOVE tomorrow’s post. :-)

  26. theres oil in virginia says:

    Lowetide,

    Awesome. I’m going to bed early so I’ll be rested for the big showdown. Hehe. I’ve gotta be at my best for this.

    LT tomorrow:

    Hemsky RE
    GP G AS PTS
    82 29 38 67

    That’s right suckers! I put Hemsky out of order just to further throw Rom off. He’s the Oilers top RW!!! More games played, more goals, and more assists! Bite me Eberle lovers!
    Hahahaha. <–(That's maniacal laughter.)

  27. Lowetide says:

    lol. Next year, I’m going to start off with the trainers and the ticket takers, then go right to Hall! Now that I know Rom likes order, you can bet there’s going to be a weird blueline order. :-)

  28. striatic says:

    russ99: What I find most puzzling about the center position issue, is that everywhere else MacT has worked hard in the offseason to find a safety net at positions where the plan may not work.

    i’ve been feeling the same way.

    D has this safety net in place. maybe it isn’t adequate, but you can see the thinking in action.

    i guess the thinking is there also with the MacT quote about Arcobello, Andrew Miller, Will Acton and Anton Lander .. maybe we are wrong to assume that these players are less of a safety net than Belov, Grebeshkov, Larsen and Potter.

    perhaps some form of Russian bias?

  29. RexLibris says:

    Lowetide:
    lol. Next year, I’m going to start off with the trainers and the ticket takers, then go right to Hall! Now that I know Rom likes order, you can bet there’s going to be a weird blueline order.

    Whoa, you mean you aren’t doing an RE for Eddy the 50/50 vendor over in section G?

  30. Lowetide says:

    Whoa. Great word. I learned it from Wile E. Coyote. Love that guy.

  31. RexLibris says:

    Further to the adjusted Corsi article from the other day, Mr. Filipovic has another up right now that discusses the defensive pairings. http://nhlnumbers.com/2013/8/5/western-conference-defensemen-pairingtier-vs-team-production

    Here’s an excerpt from the Oilers and it may explain why MacTavish spent so much time working over the blueline this summer at (seeming) expense of center:

    “It’s almost hard to fathom someone being as bad as Whitney was, without intentionally trying to be. I’d say that it was depressing watching him limp around on that surgically repaired ankle, but given how smug and self-righteous he comes across on Twitter, I can’t feel too bad for him. He’s still available as a UFA, and while I guess I wouldn’t totally hate my team taking a no-risk flyer on him, I wouldn’t expect to get anything from him. Especially with that giant fork lodged in his back.”

    Interesting read and maybe a good segue into the blueline RE (sorry if I’m setting you up there, LT).
    :)

  32. RexLibris says:

    Lowetide:
    Whoa. Great word. I learned it from Wile E. Coyote. Love that guy.

    Wile E. is a foundation of modern mythology. Sort of a latter-day Sysiphus. I have all day for he and his mail-order hijinks.

    But when I think of “Whoa” I can’t help but bring this to mind…
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H2i0QWXvOn0

    This show was part of the educational programme to turn me into the fully functional, well-rounded human being I am today.

  33. LMHF#1 says:

    Romulus Apotheosis:
    One thing I’ll say about Belanger as positive.

    He often looked like he was giving it the old college try. His shooting % hit the center of the planet as an Oiler

    I’ve never seen a guy quit so quickly or often as Belanger in his time as an Oiler. Complete embarrassment to the uniform for most of his stay. Watching him consciously avoid situations where contact was even a possibility, and stick with that stupid half-snapper in every single situation was just sad.

  34. RexLibris says:

    LMHF#1: I’ve never seen a guy quit so quickly or often as Belanger in his time as an Oiler. Complete embarrassment to the uniform for most of his stay. Watching him consciously avoid situations where contact was even a possibility, and stick with that stupid half-snapper in every single situation was just sad.

    You never watched Klima or Kovalenko play, did you?

  35. "Steve Smith" says:

    RexLibris: You never watched Klima or Kovalenko play, did you?

    Petr Klima? That guy never quit – not even after being benched for eight or nine consecutive periods for lack of effort.

  36. hags9k says:

    Arco just has the look, feel, smell of an Oiler. I’m thinking he will win the day at 4C. Hopefully Lander would benefit from more time on the farm.

  37. hags9k says:

    Sorry this comment is off topic…
    I’d like to read a LT series, URE. I think the responsibilities of being an upstanding and rational member of the Edm media community are keeping his predictions all caged and pent up. I’d like to read a Hall or Yak URE where the pure fan is let out of the bottle.

  38. Romulus Apotheosis says:

    LMHF#1: I’ve never seen a guy quit so quickly or often as Belanger in his time as an Oiler. Complete embarrassment to the uniform for most of his stay. Watching him consciously avoid situations where contact was even a possibility, and stick with that stupid half-snapper in every single situation was just sad.

    I’m not going to fight you on this. My defence of B was very limited and qualified.

  39. LMHF#1 says:

    RexLibris: You never watched Klima or Kovalenko play, did you?

    Sure did. Either one of them could hop up and score you a goal at any time. Belanger could hop up and…dump the puck into a corner so he won’t get hit…at any time. Big difference.

  40. Bruce McCurdy says:

    hags9k: Arco just has the look, feel, smell of an Oiler.

    I’m not sure having the smell of an Oiler is a good sign.

  41. namflashback says:

    meh, Belanger’s comment wasn’t a huge damper on things. even his own teammates had different opinions on the “celly.”

    what was most brilliant about Yak in the following games was the big goal in LA, where he stood behind the net and did the “ok guys, I’ll stay here and you come to me” thing with his gloves. THAT was perfect. He both did what Belanger suggested (not make his teammates have to chase him down) AND made it his big celebration.

  42. hags9k says:

    Bruce McCurdy,

    Or as Gramps used to say, if it looks like shit, smells like shit and tastes like shit, it’s probably peanut butter.

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