The current slow play by GM Craig MacTavish at center benefits Mark Arcobello in a big way. Even if the Oilers go out and find a suitable 2line C, Arcobello will compete with No. 3 overall pick Leon Draisaitl for 3line duty this fall. Even if THAT duel ends in a loss for the diminutive center, he’ll hang around as an extra forward waiting for slump or injury. Mark Arcobello keeps matriculating!


arco extra skater

In exactly half a season (WHY they sent him down is a mystery) Mark Arcobello showed well for the Edmonton Oilers. You may recall he was a plug-and-play when Sam Gagner was injured and played well.


Arcobello shows up in the “less difficult” part of the graph, but it’s borderline. He didn’t play the soft minutes and he didn’t get a zone start push. If the Oilers play him on the 2line this year, Arcobello’s spot on the Vollman will move up to Gagner-level but it isn’t an impossible climb. As the Sledgehammer shows, Arcobello delivered 1.82/60 at even strength—that’s a better number than other Oil centers this past season.

5×5/60 2013-14 (via behind the net)

  1. Mark Arcobello 1.82
  2. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins 1.56
  3. Sam Gagner 1.47
  4. Boyd Gordon 0.93


This is interesting. The Oilers need a bridge player to play on the 2line until Leon Draisaitl is ready. Arcobello scored well at 5×5/60 this past season, and as the graph above shows he played well—his shot differential is pretty damn good, especially on this team.

I’d say it is completely reasonable to put Arcobello’s demotion this past season at the feet of the head coach, not the player.


  • 5×5 points per 60: 1.47 (6th among regular forwards)
  • 5×4 points per 60: 2.20 (6th among regular forwards)
  • Qual Comp: 2nd line opposition
  • Qual Team: 2nd line teammates
  • Corsi Rel: 0.7 (6th best among regular forwards)
  • Corsi for % 5×5: 44.2
  • Corsi for % Rel 5×5: 0.0
  • Zone Start: 55.5% (4th easiest among regular forwards)
  • Zone Finish: 47.2% (5th best among regular forwards)
  • Shots on goal/percentage: 143/7% (7th among F’s>100 shots)
  • Boxcars: 67, 10-27-37


  • 5×5 points per 60: 1.82 (4th among regular forwards)
  • 5×4 points per 60: 2.65 (7th among regular forwards)
  • Qual Comp: 4th line opposition
  • Qual Team: 2nd line teammates
  • Corsi Rel: 6.4 (3rd best among regular forwards)
  • Corsi for % 5×5: 48.1
  • Corsi for % Rel 5×5: +3.7
  • Zone Start: 47.7% (8th toughest among regular forwards)
  • Zone Finish: 39.5% (7th best among regular forwards)
  • Shots on goal/percentage:  70/5.7% (10th among F’s w/70 or more shots)
  • Boxcars: 41, 4-14-18

Gagner got the tougher opposition, but a nice zone start push,
Arcobello was slightly above Gagner in the points disciplines. I don’t
think Arcobello is a long term solution at 2line C, but he certainly
looks capable of replacing the Gagner of last season.

Does Craig MacTavish give Mark Arcobello the push? Magic 8-ball says too soon to know, but the early transactions are in a nice direction for him. 

I don’t think he brings enough offense, but Arco is a better option than blowing your brains out on a faded free agent.

  • Sorensenator

    Ive never been a fan of arco. Yes he is physical but at the end of the day his hits don’t actually wear the opponents down. He is just too small. What are the odds they trade petry for Anisimov from CLB ? He has size and hands. Would be a great second line center. Then have leon, Yakimov and lander battle for third line duties.




  • Sorensenator

    Loyaloil, your comments are completely unfounded. How dare you insinuate that a 5’8, 165lb body that would be small even in junior hockey couldn’t wear down NHL players in the western division? You’re completely going against the grain of the commenters here and using such things like “logic” and “reason”. Get back in line and embrace a feel-good story and stop trying to make the Oilers a playoff caliber team.

    Sheesh, the nerve of some people. Honestly.

  • Spoils

    if we can’t sign one of the UFAs we will need to trade real assets for a #2C.

    why? because this isn’t a stopgap. strength down the middle is a must for a contender. Boyd Gordon is 30, and really a 4th liner.

    going down the list of NHL teams with good depth at center

    e.g. Carl Soderberg 6’3, 216. 28yrs old 48pts

  • Spoils

    I remember hearing that Arcobello regressed as the season went on. Does that reflect in the numbers? Does he still post better PTS/60, Corsi what not if you break up his season into halves?

  • Spoils

    From where I’m standing the Oil appear to be two NHL Centers short to start the season. Why not give term to an aging 2C who can fall down to 3C when the German is ready? All the while Arco is the answer at 3C until that happens. This gives time for Arco to establish himself as the permanent 3C without great risk. Besides, bsed on merit Arco has earned a real shot on this roster.

  • Zarny

    The simple answer is no.

    On his best day, Sam Gagner still wasn’t a good compliment to Nuge.

    Arcobello is no different. He’s 5’9″ 166 lbs with a whopping 18 PT in 42 career NHL games. And that includes starting off with 10 A in the first 10 games riding the coattails of guys like Hall, Eberle and Perron. He wasn’t driving the offense or setting up beautiful plays. He was just picking up freebies while the talent did all the work.

    That is not a #2 C.

  • Rusty Patenaude

    Armco we all know isn’t a 2C on this team, or on most due to his size. He can easily fills Gagner’s shoes because the same is true for Gagner. That’s not the question. The question is where are we trying and going to finish this year.

    Defence and goaltending is significantly improved. My suggestion is that we could reach and still be competing for a playoff spot in February which is an improvement, but ultimately we’ll fall short and finish around 10th. That is realistic. Now, that’s based on most of the baby forwards not taking huge leaps. If Yak, Nuge and some if the boys have been busting hump this summer, who knows.

    However based on where I think we’ll like likely finish, Arco down the middle isn’t gonna kill us and maybe we get some value on the open market for him after playing him 60 games prior to the trade deadline next year.

    Ie: If MacT signs someone great. If not, it isn’t a back breaker. There’s not that many options available now that want be looking for long term which we don’t need.

  • Arco is not one of Eakins’ players so he will never be given a fair opportunity.

    We are still trying to sign AHL players that Eakins has coached…… Aulie?? From the four or five players Eakins has brought in from the Marlies, exactly who has worked out?

    The guy could not recognize talent, if it hit him in the face.

  • ubermiguel

    Arco punched a bit above his weight class at the start fo the year, I worry what his numbers will look like after 82 games. I’m a fan of his, love his hustle and will, but at the 2C centre spot he’s going to get exposed and abused. This position is a serious problem.


      But I truly loved the way he punched out of his weight class! The guy is great! Can he keep it up.. I doubt it to. But he stepped up to the challenge big time last year and I doubt he will allow some German
      child walk in and take what he has earned. He has shown to much pride for that. Don’t count this kid out. Unless they bring in a for real established 2nd C I think Arco can will his way through a full season and do Edmonton proud.

      But I do pick with my heart..

  • billythebullet

    Berglund is not a 2c. Neither is B.Sutter. Both have been used as 3rd liners. That being said, we need a good big 3rd line center that can play up in the line up some. These 2 guys seem to be good targets imo and could be available. And both are better then Arco. I also don’t see needing to pay the moon for a 3rd liner in a trade. Prospects, depth players and picks get these done or its a gross overpayment. And really what’s so bad to have king Leon in the lineup if he earns it? Honestly he is probably better then lander and Arco.

    • Zarny

      I agree with problem I guess just saying like to see 2 experienced centers preferably a 2C & 3C at start of season. Those two would be great but yeah its Edmonton.

      Too many people think that Drasaitl can just walk in and be a 2C Id prefer not to put pressure on him like that and become that player on his own.

    • billythebullet

      Everyone loves Legwand but he was -9 in 21 gms with a playoff team in Detroit. I know this will get trashed but I’d sign Derek Roy for a year or max 2. Right now if Nuge gets hurt we’re done. I’d still sign Ryan White to a 2 way to push Lander and Arcabello.

      • Zarny

        Meh, +/- is as much a team stat as an individual one.

        I don’t see Derek Roy as a good option for a 2C. He was very sheltered in StL playing against lower competition and an Off Zone Start % of 63.1. Given that he is also only 5’9″ 184 lbs and I think he would get absolutely murdered playing tougher minutes in Edmonton.

        Legwand on the other hand is 6’2″ 205 lbs and played against the same quality of competition as David Backes with a slight advantage in zone starts. He had 51 PT last year and is responsible defensively. Right now, I think he’s a much better player than Derek Roy but also compliments Nuge much better too.

        Just my opinion though.

  • Seriously Lowetide. I love your in depth analysis, however, you truly do overvalue Oiler draft picks/AHLers at times… has been a trend (just by looking at your past articles)

    I am going to post exactly what i did yesterday under Willis’ article…..

    I may be in the minority, but i’m quite tired of the Arco buzz…..if Arco truly was an NHLer with staying power he never would have been in the AHL last year…..all the BS talk about his advanced stats, etc…..what exactly did Arco do after the first 12 games last year……well, according to advanced stats he “didn’t hurt the team”…..

    So, the rationale that Arco didn’t hurt the team is the reason some of the media/bloggers now tout him as surefire to play next year in the show……

    Arco maybe can be a stopgap until someone with staying power can slot in (which you suggest), he is not a solution, so let’s stop acting like he is…..

    feel free to “trash it”, but that’s just the opinion from an armchair critic

  • Zarny

    I think this discussion also highlights the need for the Oilers to continue to draft and develop centres. If Draisatl works out as the 2C, that’s great, but there will still be holes at 3C and 4C long term. Ideally, you’ll want younger, cheaper players rather than spending millions of dollars on expensive free agents to fill the holes in your bottom six short term.

  • Rusty Patenaude

    A couple of things to remember about Arcobello: he is good on faceoffs and he hits. No he is not a guy who throws big hits, that is an overrated skill anyway, he separates the opposition from the puck. Last year he might have been the best forward on the team in terms of strategic body contact. He is reliable defensively and okay offensively. Playing with the wingers we have available now for the second line, he could serve as a decent stop gap for Draisitl. If Arco weighed 20 more pounds we would not even be debating the issue. My point is, he plays well despite his size, combined with a larger winger or two, he could fill the role until Draisaitl is ready.


    I do think Arco played better than Gagner last year. He did tail off but he was much better defensively, and played more physical.

    That being said, I don’t think he would be a second line center on any other team in the NHL.