Mark Arcobello re-signs with the Oilers

Jonathan Willis
March 31 2014 03:00PM

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Well, how about that. On Monday, the Oilers passed on the (positive) news that Mark Arcobello, who had been bound for Group VI unrestricted free agency, had re-signed with the team. According to the Oilers' official press release, Arcobello's new deal is a one-year extension. 

What wasn't included in the official release are the details of the contract beyond length. It's almost certainly a one-way contract - Arcobello's camp really had no incentive to sign a two-way deal with the Oilers. As for the money, I'd guess something in the six figure range; it isn't likely that the team would shell out more than that for a player who was consigned to the minor leagues not all that long ago.  

With the small caveat that we can't be totally sure until we here specifics of the contract, this comes across as very good news for Edmonton. We speculated just a few weeks ago that Arcobello might prefer to try and find his way with a team less focused on getting bigger, and that the end result might be that he was finished as an Oiler. The team should be happy that this turned out not to be the case, because while Arcobello's still a bit of a question mark he looked a lot like an effective NHL player earlier this season and there's no question Edmonton could use more of those.

Repercussions

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There are a few people who might plausibly be impacted by this signing.

Sam Gagner is at the top of the list. Arcobello got a prolonged shot at a skill job at centre thanks to Gagner's injury early in the year, and he did a better job in a top-six role than Gagner has all season. More than that, Arcobello showed signs of being a positive possession player - something Gagner's rarely done over his NHL career. Given that, Gagner's current slot as second line centre is a plausible (if less than ideal) place to pencil in Arcobello for next season, and this signing isn't going to do anything to cool the idea that Gagner's going to be moved out of town over the summer. 

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Anton Lander is another player potentially impacted by this signing. Lander's been auditioning in the Mr. Versatility role that Arcobello eventually slid into prior to his demotion, and the results have been mixed. Some good things have happened with Lander on the ice, and by eye he's been okay, but the offence stubbornly refuses to come even when he's playing with scorers. The Oilers' No. 4 and (assuming they use one) No. 5 centre roles for next season are wide open and even the staunchest supporter of the young Swede would admit he hasn't forced himself into one of those spots. A pessimist might see Arcobello as the perfect 13th forward because he can do a bit of everything but isn't proven enough to be put in a top-six job; if that's the Oilers' view it represents trouble for Lander.  

Bottom Line

Craig MacTavish2

Last summer, one of the things Craig MacTavish did to try and advance his team was bring in a group of players on cheap short-term deals to see if they had something to offer. Ryan Jones, Denis Grebeshkov and Anton Belov were all given one-year deals to show what they could do; they've all been various shades of disappointing but in each case the Oilers' exposure to risk was limited. Jesse Joensuu, on a cheap two-year contract, falls under the same heading. 

The results haven't been good, but it's a process that makes a lot of sense for a team like Edmonton that has so much work to do. There's some risk involved, but also the possibility that one of these cheap deals turns out a player who can further the cause.

This Arcobello extension falls into the same category, and it seems a reasonable bet for management to make. He isn't a proven player, but he has overcome a lot already and didn't look out of place in the Oilers' top-six early in the year; there's at least some possibility that he ends up dramatically out-performing the dollars he's signed for. 

Or, as I put it when I was speculating that it might make sense for Arcobello to move on:

Good players sometimes get lost in bad teams, and Arcobello shows all the signs. He may or may not turn out, but he will be a nice cheap bet for some smart team out there.

RECENTLY BY JONATHAN WILLIS

74b7cedc5d8bfbe88cf071309e98d2c3
Jonathan Willis is a freelance writer. He currently works for Oilers Nation, Sportsnet, the Edmonton Journal and Bleacher Report. He's co-written three books and worked for myriad websites, including Grantland, ESPN, The Score, and Hockey Prospectus. He was previously the founder and managing editor of Copper & Blue.
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#1 916oiler
March 31 2014, 03:08PM
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How can you not like this kid? Cue the 'size' comments. Please just acknowledge he's a solid player that deserved to get a contract!

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#2 mlcselli
March 31 2014, 03:12PM
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Seems like Sam might be getting a new home. Great for us to have MA on board. The kid is all heart and good on the dot.

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#3 Duke
March 31 2014, 03:12PM
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Fare Thee Well Sam Gagner

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#4 baggedmilk
March 31 2014, 03:04PM
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MARCOBELLO FOREVER!

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#5 Spydyr
March 31 2014, 03:17PM
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If it means Gagner gets moved I'm all for it.

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#6 Spydyr
March 31 2014, 03:30PM
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RexHolez wrote:

Did arcobello fall on his head?? What a terrible decision for his career

One year at his age is not such a bad thing for him especially if it is a one way deal.He has a chance to play in the NHL next season .Perhaps make a name for himself.How many other teams are weak enough to give him a legitimate NHL shot next year?

Not many.

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#7 Stompinstoms
March 31 2014, 03:17PM
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I like Arcobello, I really do. And he certainly has earned this contract. I just hope that we have a plan to get rid of Gagner. Another tiny centre isn't what this team desperately needs - and they desperately need a lot of things.

Do you think there's a GM out there who doesn't watch the games? At 4.8 a season for Gags, we better hope so.

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#8 Will
March 31 2014, 03:26PM
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He won more faceoffs than he lost, was a better PPG player while he was here, tried to be as physical as possible, and was able to keep up with the more talented players. Though I still want to see Mac T bring in a legitimate second line C like Legwand or Stasny, Arco is certainly an upgrade over the under-performing Ganger.

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#9 Lofty
March 31 2014, 03:49PM
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916oiler wrote:

How can you not like this kid? Cue the 'size' comments. Please just acknowledge he's a solid player that deserved to get a contract!

He may be small but he's more physical than just about every player Edmonton has.

If my memory serves me correctly, Arco was in the top few for hits during his time up with the Oil.

You don't need to lay people out to be physical, just seperate the puck from the player. This is a big problem with the teams defense, too much fishing for pucks not enough basic fundamental hockey. Finish your check and take a man.

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#10 westcoastoil
March 31 2014, 03:51PM
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It wouldn't be surprising to learn that he had a chat with MacT about this at the time he was sent down.

MacT: "Our season's done, we like your game, we know what you can do but right now you need to be playing and we have to figure out some things with our players up here. Go down to OKC try and get them in the playoffs and we'll give you a one way that works for both side. I'll look after your dog for you if you want while you're down there."

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#11 Ryan
March 31 2014, 03:46PM
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i would wager arco is MacT's back up plan for next years 2line center. This solidifies Gagner leaving. I would hope MacT will be hitting the phones for a legitimate big #2C, but at the same time he shouldn't be putting all of his eggs in one basket in the event that one doesn't present itself. good signing because if there is no couturier to be had arcobello is a better option than lander.

that's the way i see it..

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#12 RexHolez
March 31 2014, 03:28PM
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Did arcobello fall on his head?? What a terrible decision for his career

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#13 Stompinstoms
March 31 2014, 03:45PM
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In other news, Will Acton has been recalled. The "braintrust" must REALLY want OKC to make the playoffs.

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#14 Spydyr
March 31 2014, 03:47PM
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RexHolez wrote:

I agree but Why would oilers sign him to a 1 way deal when he's not even playing for them this year??

Do you really think the team thinks Acton is a better option then Arcobello?

The only reason Arcobello is still in OKC is to help them make the playoffs. That and the team has to stay in second last if they hope to get Ekblad or Draisaitl even then if the wrong team wins the lottery they might be SOL.

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#15 RossCreekNation
March 31 2014, 04:08PM
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Also, for those arguing about Acton/Arcobello, Arco is & has been hurt for awhile now.

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#16 The artist formerly known as Harry
March 31 2014, 05:49PM
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If they cant trade Gagner I would buy him out. And why does everyone assume we need a 2C? We need a 1C!! RHN is being asked to do too much too soon.

Just realized when gagner was signed. No buyout to be had there

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#17 Chainsawz
March 31 2014, 08:11PM
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Naky wrote:

@Mike Wazowski

It's no use throwing numbers towards the Mark Arcobello fans. They don't want to see the numbers that prove that Gagner actually is a better PPG player than he is, they refuse to acknowledge that a 5'8, 166lb guy being 'physical' is anything beyond adorable at the NHL level, and that most of the points he did put up were in a very small span of games and then became completely invisible afterwards. He played his way off the team, but don't them that. Nope, he's the solution and is the #1 reason why we're going to make the playoffs next season.

In fact, if we had more Mark Arcobellos, we could match up very well against Bostom, St. Louis, LA, etc. No, I'm serious! So long as they can all skate well, they could just skate right between everyone's legs!

It's no use using logic with Arcobello haters either. They get caught up in his size they can't see the NHL player that he really is.

He draws more penalties than Gagner, takes less penalties than Gagner, has better zone start/finish than Gagner, and isn't a liability no matter where you stick him in the line up unlike Gagner.

No one is saying we need a team full of his exact twins (kind of like how no one likes how our top 6 seems to be mostly the same type of player). Could use a team full with his heart though.

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#18 michael
March 31 2014, 03:31PM
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One way for certain. Arcobello deserves at least that regardless of where he plays next season.Cripes if they can pay Grebby and Eager a million bucks to play in OKC then what is that in comparison to what Arcobello is going to get paid on a one way contract.

The Oilers need a viable second line center option going into the off season.

Hopefully we'll sign this guy or were going to try to trade for this guy is not the same as we have this guy in our organization under contract.

good for MA.

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#19 Sevenseven
March 31 2014, 03:39PM
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Arco is a smart, talented forward who plays bigger than he is. IMO a better 4th line center than Smyth. Good signing! Now change the top 6 Mac t bottom 6 is looking pretty good.

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#20 Eastern Oil
March 31 2014, 03:55PM
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JW, I agree with your thoughts on Lander. I have liked what I saw in his audition with skill from a systems and defence standpoint but he's had terrible puck luck.

But, do we have to view him as a centre? Perhaps with Jones moving on and the Oil not 100% convinced JJ for the third line, the Oilers could play him on the wing with Hendricks and Gordon?

Always good to have extra centres around, especially one with a eye to play on the defensive side of the puck.

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#21 blainer
March 31 2014, 07:19PM
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Spydyr wrote:

I would be happy with a second round pick a mid-line prospect and the 4.8 million in cap space to use in free agency.

In a perfect world he would be part of a package for a top pairing defencman or a complete centre.

I Like your optimism. I too would be very happy with that. On Gagner, I was reminded listening to Eakins that a lot of the players do read these blogs. It is important for the players to understand what the hockey world is saying. I am an old dog and have watched many nhl players piss away their careers.(some of them I know)and hope that Sam realizes as I see it his career is getting close to life support. MacT mentioned last year with whitney that the players don't see or understand that their play has deteriorated to the point that the team has to start scratching you because you have become a liability.The oilers have given Sam every opportunity to rebound after an awful injury. I believe this injury has impacted his play but have to admit I really didn't want them to re sign him. From what I've seen he seems like a great guy and I hope Sam sees where he is, and works harder than ever because if he doesn't his next team will be his last.

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#22 Shifty203
March 31 2014, 03:23PM
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Does nothing to help the Oilers long term. Band-aid to keep the fans happy for short term. If Gag's gets moved this summer, Arcobello will be the goat halfway though the season.

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#23 The Swarm
March 31 2014, 05:34PM
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The Oilers will not start the season with RNH, Gagner and Arco at C (unless they are dumber than I thought), so Gagner will certainly be bought out - especially now that every team knows this very predicament.

No one will trade for him with or without the big salary.

Good riddance Sammy. With your next team, try to focus more on your man and less on twirling your mouth guard.

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#24 Spydyr
March 31 2014, 03:34PM
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michael wrote:

One way for certain. Arcobello deserves at least that regardless of where he plays next season.Cripes if they can pay Grebby and Eager a million bucks to play in OKC then what is that in comparison to what Arcobello is going to get paid on a one way contract.

The Oilers need a viable second line center option going into the off season.

Hopefully we'll sign this guy or were going to try to trade for this guy is not the same as we have this guy in our organization under contract.

good for MA.

I look at Arcobello the same as Lander.Good call ups from the AHL a little depth.Injuries will happen.

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#25 tileguy
March 31 2014, 04:57PM
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Gagner and our 2015 first round pick to Florida for there 2014 first round pick, thisway we get to draft 2 big Centres.

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#26 The artist formerly known as Harry
March 31 2014, 05:41PM
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Will wrote:

He won more faceoffs than he lost, was a better PPG player while he was here, tried to be as physical as possible, and was able to keep up with the more talented players. Though I still want to see Mac T bring in a legitimate second line C like Legwand or Stasny, Arco is certainly an upgrade over the under-performing Ganger.

Lets not kid ourselves, Lagwand or Stastny would be #1C on this team. All this talk and action on the bottom 6, I surely hope that Mac makes some noise regarding the top 6 this offseason.

If the centre depth chart is composed of RNH, Arco, Gordon, Lander, insert rookie here, we are in for a world of hurt again next year.

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#27 keith
March 31 2014, 08:36PM
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Oilers don't even know an NHL player when they play for them.

Oilers laughing stock of the league.

Go Hemsky

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#28 Jeffff
March 31 2014, 09:03PM
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I remember trading Gagner for Brandon Sutter. I got torched here

Bet you would do it now.

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#29 Spydyr
March 31 2014, 07:14PM
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Zamboni Driver wrote:

Most Oilersnation Fans: FIRE LOWE FIRE MACTAVISH FIRE EAKINS

Also "Hey, they signed another sort of okay NHL player. Great move!"

Riiiiiiiiight.

Just Lowe.The new guy would clean house.

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#30 RexHolez
March 31 2014, 03:39PM
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Spydyr wrote:

One year at his age is not such a bad thing for him especially if it is a one way deal.He has a chance to play in the NHL next season .Perhaps make a name for himself.How many other teams are weak enough to give him a legitimate NHL shot next year?

Not many.

I agree but Why would oilers sign him to a 1 way deal when he's not even playing for them this year??

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#31 RossCreekNation
March 31 2014, 04:04PM
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Most likely 1-way deal for $950k. This way when they send him down next yr, he won't count against the cap.

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#32 Oilers101
March 31 2014, 04:11PM
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Sam will move, with Katz footing 1.5-2 mil per. Like numerous others from here, that's not asset managment in my opinion. However Sam needs a restart, before mct can't give him away.

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#33 blainer
March 31 2014, 04:59PM
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The Arco signing is a good one. He was one of the few players that competed for the oilers this year. Finishes his checks and is good on the dot. Was much better than gagner in the two slot. I already suspect there is very little value if any for gagner. He may end up getting bought out. I hope he is not back next year. This is a situation where there will be addition by subtraction. In my opinion he is not far off where Patrick O'sullivan is just before he was dumped.

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#34 Mike Wazowski
March 31 2014, 05:09PM
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Will wrote:

He won more faceoffs than he lost, was a better PPG player while he was here, tried to be as physical as possible, and was able to keep up with the more talented players. Though I still want to see Mac T bring in a legitimate second line C like Legwand or Stasny, Arco is certainly an upgrade over the under-performing Ganger.

As much as Arco worked hard, was decent in the faceoffs and was as physical as he could be, he was not a better PPG guy than Gagner.

Gagner: 61GP 9G 25A 34Pts - 0.57 PPG Arcobello: 41GP 4G 14A 18Pts - 0.44 PPG

I appreciate his work ethic but we still need a better 2C. Most of Arco's points were in that 10 game point streak to start the season and the other 30 games he fell off the map.

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#35 RexHolez
March 31 2014, 03:53PM
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Spydyr wrote:

Do you really think the team thinks Acton is a better option then Arcobello?

The only reason Arcobello is still in OKC is to help them make the playoffs. That and the team has to stay in second last if they hope to get Ekblad or Draisaitl even then if the wrong team wins the lottery they might be SOL.

Ok fair enough. I didn't realize the barons were more important to them, and didnt know they were purposely tanking again this year.

Just thought if this player is in their plans for next year they might want to get him in as many NHL games as they could this year

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#36 blainer
March 31 2014, 05:10PM
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Eastern Oil wrote:

JW, I agree with your thoughts on Lander. I have liked what I saw in his audition with skill from a systems and defence standpoint but he's had terrible puck luck.

But, do we have to view him as a centre? Perhaps with Jones moving on and the Oil not 100% convinced JJ for the third line, the Oilers could play him on the wing with Hendricks and Gordon?

Always good to have extra centres around, especially one with a eye to play on the defensive side of the puck.

Time is ticking on both Lander and Joensu. To me these guys would be my plan B or C. We need actual NHL players. Was hoping Landers skating would be better than it is.He hasn't been real bad but just isn't what I hoped he would become. Joensu's back seems to be going the way of JFJ. I am hoping MacT fills these spots with proven players.

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#37 Naky
March 31 2014, 05:19PM
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@Mike Wazowski

It's no use throwing numbers towards the Mark Arcobello fans. They don't want to see the numbers that prove that Gagner actually is a better PPG player than he is, they refuse to acknowledge that a 5'8, 166lb guy being 'physical' is anything beyond adorable at the NHL level, and that most of the points he did put up were in a very small span of games and then became completely invisible afterwards. He played his way off the team, but don't them that. Nope, he's the solution and is the #1 reason why we're going to make the playoffs next season.

In fact, if we had more Mark Arcobellos, we could match up very well against Bostom, St. Louis, LA, etc. No, I'm serious! So long as they can all skate well, they could just skate right between everyone's legs!

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#38 Casey
March 31 2014, 11:35PM
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Soo what Arco is 5.9 and 165 ibs? Sure size matters but it depends on how you use it. Jordin Tootoo is 5.9 and 194 ibs yet he plays like he is 6.5 220 ibs. A guy who finishes checks,can win faceoffs, play defense, and can get points. Sounds like something we have been trying to pursue

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#39 Jackson
March 31 2014, 04:01PM
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@RexHolez

What other team is going to sign a lifetime AHL player to a NHL contract.

Oilers are the lowest hanging fruit. No real NHL player would come here.

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#40 John
March 31 2014, 06:36PM
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They are not going to buy Gagner out, some of you are being ridiculous. There was interest at the deadline, and if the Oilers just want to dump him it would be easy. I think they will trade him in the summer, and its debatable what the return would be, but he is still an asset.

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#41 The artist formerly known as Harry
March 31 2014, 06:42PM
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@John

Cause it was real easy for Van to dump Luongo hey? And hes a true #1 goalie. Its gonna be hard to find someone to take Gagner and his 4.8mil massive overpayment of a contract

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#42 2004Z06
March 31 2014, 07:22PM
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The artist formerly known as Harry wrote:

Cause it was real easy for Van to dump Luongo hey? And hes a true #1 goalie. Its gonna be hard to find someone to take Gagner and his 4.8mil massive overpayment of a contract

Actually Vancouver had several offers for Luongo, they just priced him too high. They ended up getting much less in the end than they were offered at the deadline.

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#43 So-patient
March 31 2014, 11:54PM
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Mike Wazowski wrote:

As much as Arco worked hard, was decent in the faceoffs and was as physical as he could be, he was not a better PPG guy than Gagner.

Gagner: 61GP 9G 25A 34Pts - 0.57 PPG Arcobello: 41GP 4G 14A 18Pts - 0.44 PPG

I appreciate his work ethic but we still need a better 2C. Most of Arco's points were in that 10 game point streak to start the season and the other 30 games he fell off the map.

I'm more interested in his excellent (compared to gagner's and the rest if the team's) Corsi numbers. Because yes his ppg is lower but that doesn't take into account the number of games he spent playing between gazdic and jones. How often has gagner been demoted to the 4th line? The oilers need more players that provide puck possession. Arcobello may not be ideal but he's a good fix from within the system.

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#44 Bucknuck
April 01 2014, 12:49AM
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I was SO HAPPY to hear this. I assume they will trade Gagner and bring in another 2line C... but someone is going to get hurt, and Arco is a good centre.

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#45 Spydyr
March 31 2014, 04:19PM
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RossCreekNation wrote:

Also, for those arguing about Acton/Arcobello, Arco is & has been hurt for awhile now.

Never knew that....thanks.

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#46 Naky
March 31 2014, 10:16PM
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Guys, guys, seriously. I'm sorry. I was wrong. We need Arcobello on the team. With him on the team, we win more games and we're a stronger team for it. Just think, if Mark Arcobello was on this team at the beginning of the year, we'd be in the playoff hunt right now.

Wait, wasn't he with the team for the first half of the season? Huh, I wonder how that went. Well, at least he won some faceoffs and bounced off some guys to show that he had heart, eh. Counts for something with some people, even if it meant absolutely nothing in the standings. I suppose there really are some who like to draft in the top 5 year after year, who knew?

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#47 Dog Train
March 31 2014, 10:21PM
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Having Arcobello on a one-year deal gives us options. He can play up and down in the lineup and plays with a chip on his shoulder. He's far from the answer but having him around gives us some depth as we inevitably move guys out of town.

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#48 Bubba
April 01 2014, 09:21AM
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Somebody forgot to tell Sporkabella he's small. He plays harder than some of our top 6 for sure and likes 'the other kids'...... I think we got a bargain in him...

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#49 backup bob
March 31 2014, 03:47PM
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The guy is 5'8" and 165 lbs. The oilers new power forward.

Signed, The smurfs

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#50 blainer
March 31 2014, 05:50PM
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The Swarm wrote:

The Oilers will not start the season with RNH, Gagner and Arco at C (unless they are dumber than I thought), so Gagner will certainly be bought out - especially now that every team knows this very predicament.

No one will trade for him with or without the big salary.

Good riddance Sammy. With your next team, try to focus more on your man and less on twirling your mouth guard.

Agreed. It is unfortunate for what happened to Sam. When he first arrived in the league I remember how hard he was working and how impressed I was. I don't know what happens to players like Sam and P. O'Sullivan. The talent and compete is there, and then, like a light bulb it's gone. I think in Sam's case he should never have been put at centre. I give Hall credit for knowing that right away. I also believe the coaching has not helped him either. I am not optimistic for him as a future NHL player.

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