If overcoming obstacles was the sole value of a hockey player, he’d be Gretzky. Mark Arcobello began his pro career by signing an AHL contract—that’s not a strong arrow for a productive NHL future—and spent his early days playing on the lowest rung of the NHL entertainment platform, the ECHL. Since then, he’s climbed a mighty mountain to the NHL—and continues to climb.
PREVIOUSLY NUMBER TWELVE ON THE LIST
- December 2004: L Brad Winchester (390)
- December 2005: C Kyle Brodziak (492)
- December 2006: L Dragan Umicevic (0)
- December 2007: D Alex Plante (10)
- December 2008: G Jeff Deslauriers (62)
- December 2009: G Devan Dubnyk (158)
- December 2010: D Jeff Petry (181)
- December 2011: G Olivier Roy (0)
- December 2012: L Mitchell Moroz (0)
Well, damn there’s some players here. Winchester and Brodziak go all the way back to the beginning of the Prendergast-as-scouting-director era, and then our goalies also show up here. There’s three guys who had NHL careers parked here, interesting.
WHAT THEY SAID WHEN THEY SIGNED HIM
- Arcobello on St. Louis, Steve Sullivan, Brian Gionta: “The difference with those guys is that they’re so much faster. They aren’t the biggest but they make up for it in speed and skill. So I’ve been working on that. I’m trying to get faster, stronger and become a quicker player.”
- Stockton coach Matt Thomas: “I think his vision is one of his best assets along with his speed. He knows how to find open guys and hit the holes offensively. Being up top, we figured he’d be able to see a lot and make plays.”
- Arcobello on pro hockey: “It’s different from the college game. It’s faster but there’s more emphasis on control. It takes a little bit of time to get used to, coming straight out of college, when you’re more free to use your skills. Here it’s more system-oriented and there’s demand to stick to the system.”
POINTS BY DISCIPLINE, MARK ARCOBELLO
|ARCOBELLO 2011-12 AHL||73, 14-22-36 .493||73, 3-4-7 .096||73, 0-0-0||73, 17-26-43 .589|
|ARCOBELLO 2012-13 AHL||74, 15-27-42 .568||74, 6-19-25 .338||74, 1-0-1||74, 22-46-68 .919|
|ARCOBELLO 2013-14 NHL||20, 1-9-10 .500||20, 1-1-2 .100||20, 0-0-0||20, 2-10-12 .600|
This is a fairly unusual hockey card in a few ways: Arcobello has been consistent at even strength scoring, even into the NHL. We know from watching Oilers kids forever that’s an unusual thing, and of course it’s only 20 games. Still, I’ve never thought he looked out of place this season on a skill line—in fact, he’s been impressive.
His PP numbers spiked in his final AHL season, that was the season when all the NHL kids were in Oklahoma. He proved at that time that playing with skilled players was something he could do, and damned if he isn’t doing it at the NHL level. A very impressive set of boxcars by Arcobello.
PREVIOUS TOP 20 RANKING
- Summer 2011: 29
- Winter 2011: NR
- Summer 2012: NR
- Winter 2012: 25
- Summer 2013: 17
- Winter 2013: 12
Solid progression, he appeared at the end of his first pro season and then reappeared last winter during that nice run with Oklahoma City. His NHL performance—although it is just 20 games—moves him smartly up the list.
WHAT THEY’RE SAYING NOW
- Craig MacTavish: I liked him last year, I was an advocate of giving him an opportunity, especially in our bottom six last year, but he only came up for the one game. It all boils down to your ability to make plays with the puck. When he played with Hall and Eberle in Oklahoma City this year earlier, his production was excellent. It was actually on par with Nuge. I’m not saying that he’s Nuge, but it was on par with Ryan. So I think that we’ll get him to training camp. When we signed him again to a contract I had a conversation with him and told him that he would get a look at training camp. He hasn’t played in an exhibition game or didn’t last year, so we’ll get a look and the rest will be up to him to prove to the coaching staff that he’s got enough game to warrant a bigger look as training camp goes by. I promised him that opportunity and we’re going to give it to him.
Mark Arcobello has been manna from heaven for the Edmonton Oilers. He’s solid in the faceoff circle, he’s posting good numbers offensively (his 5×5/60 is very good) and he’s delivering in a wide range of areas. I have no answer about why he isn’t playing (apparently he’ll be in the lineup tomorrow night) and I don’t really understand why he isn’t ahead of Will Acton.
His ranking on this list reflects his potential as an NHL player: Arcobello’s hurdling is amazing, and his ability to overcome bias exceptional, but this player type rarely makes the NHL this late, and it’s Martin St. Louis-rare to see this player type enjoy a long NHL career when arriving at 25. It happens, but not often, and Arcobello’s skills—while impressive—do not include exceptional speed or strength or power that would have us compare him to Martin St. Louis or a lesser version of same. It’s very, very late for a small forward to begin his NHL career.
It’s also clear the Oilers don’t see him as a long term solution, as they are in danger of losing him to free agency (Arcobello has to play 49 of the remaining 57 games or he becomes a UFA).