Mark Arcobello re-signs with the Oilers


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.  

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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.



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. 

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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.


  • RCN

    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.

    • Spydyr

      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.

        • Spydyr

          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

          • Spydyr

            It looks like the team wants to give the kids in the AHL another taste of playoff experience.We all know that is not happening here.

            Look at the recent player movements the call ups and injuries.If a player gets a hangnail he is done for the season.The team appears to be concerned about draft postilion and have made it very clear they want one of Ekblad or Draisaitl.

            That in itself is another mistake from “The Braintrust” when will they learn to never show your hand.

          • Lofty

            Agree Spyder 17, and add that I see no reason to bring MC up here for the end of the season. It would expose him to a team playing in a funk and greater risk of injury. I hope he plays up here lots next year, but would like to see him arrive with attitude and body both intact.

  • 916oiler

    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?

  • Harry2

    @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!

    • Lofty

      Lol…That was good. The reality for me is I really do not want Arco to be in the number two slot either. If I was forced to make a decision between the two I would go with the better defensive player first.The fact is we need size for that 2nd centre position because of the division we are in. If we were in the east I might think a little different.

    • Chainsawz

      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.