As NHL free agency nears the completion of its second week, there’s not much left on the shelves. Teams looking for centers and defensemen are especially cornered, because there are very few options. How many centers, who are still available in free agency, are clearly better than Mark Arcobello?


  1. Mark Arcobello 1.82
  2. Mike Ribeiro 1.61
  3. Derek Roy 1.55
  4. Andrei Loktionov 1.24

Arcobello (inexplicably) lost playing time to Sam Gagner last season when No. 89 clearly wasn’t ready. Arco’s fast start gave way to a cool spell, but 41 games is a nice sample size and the diminutive pivot may have earned a full season in 2014-15.

Among the free-agent centers, I’m not sure any of the group showed well enough to be worth big money. 


  1. Andrei Loktionov 5.05
  2. Derek Roy 4.95
  3. Mike Ribeiro 3.11
  4. Mark Arcobello 2.65

Some nice power-play numbers among the free agents, the Oilers can always use more 5×4 options (and penalty-killers too, for that matter). Roy might be a significant help in this area, Loktionov too although he is less proven.

Corsi For % 5×5

  1. Andrei Loktionov 55.1
  2. Mike Ribeiro 52.9
  3. Derek Roy 52.0
  4. Mark Arcobello 48.1

This is a little misleading, Arco plays for a ghastly possession team whereas the others play on superior teams. Loktionov does show up in good spots, though.

Offensive Zone Start

  1. Mike Ribeiro 71.7
  2. Derek Roy 63.1
  3. Andrei Loktionov 62.9
  4. Mark Arcobello 47.7

Ribeiro gets the o-zone push, and Roy plus Loktionov, too. Arco gets the toughest number in the group, and probably more along the lines of what the 2line will see in Edmonton.

(Sources: BTN and Extra Skater)



The Oilers haven’t had a lot of luck with free agent centers over the last while—they tend to disappear. Maybe it’s just the memory of Eric Belanger, but if I’m the Oilers finding a clearly superior option to Mark Arcobello is the best option.

If that player isn’t available, play Arco.

  • BorjeSalming-IanTurnbull

    Please, someone explain to me why the 2015 1st rounder is so taboo to talk about using a that as a trade piece for this elusive centre?

    To bring back a quality, youngish, type two way centre for a pick that wouldn’t be ready (really ready) until approx 2019 or 2020 is hands down the way to go. The Oilers have the depth on wing, and the depth on D. Find the centre and let the chips fall where they may… But dammit go for it and send this thing it’s way north in the standings. It’s been far too long already.

    • BorjeSalming-IanTurnbull

      Because what would be the point of playing a full season of they don’t get a lottery pick next year? Without that there’s nothing to look forward to… Again

    • YakCity1039

      Giving up that 2015 pick is massively risky. Too much depth in this draft, the most since that 2003 draft, says most experts. Rather give 2016 or 2017.

      • BorjeSalming-IanTurnbull

        I get the depth aspect and the worry, but if I have a chance, as a GM of this team that’s sucked so badly for so long, to really improve it and get it to a point where it’s competitive near the end of the season then dammit I’d do it.

        Risky yes but to snag an ROR type player it would be worth it IMO. We have the young talent, enough of collecting more, grow the ones you have.

    • Do what Weight did?

      You could be trading away a franchise player by trading the 2015 1st round pick. Sounds like the top 10 players are impressive. Knowing that Oilers are not a playoff team next year, I’m sure management knows this too, but can’t say it. So Edmonton will have a lottery pick . What center do you trade for that pick?

      • cjoostenb

        Someone young enough to fit in with the Olers current “franchise” players, so anywhere between 22 and 28 years old… And he’d have to have the ability or at least the confidence of the coach to take on any one of the big centres in the west.

        The names have been discussed Berglund, Anisimov, ROR… I’d have to look around for others. My point would be using the first pick as the bait and create deal that makes sense with other picks or prospects.

    • Chainsawz

      Because Fayne and Nikitin are going to be expected to play above their depth and Pouliot and Purcell offer no real improvement on the forward corps. Add to the fact we are one RNH shoulder injury away from total forward implosion and the Oilers don’t possess a proven starting goalie.

      A lot more things have to go right than wrong for this team to be out of the top 5 in the draft standings for 2015. With the talent available at the top end of the draft, the piece coming back has to be blue chip and under Oiler control for a significant amount of time for trading the pick to be considered. And probably something else. Don’t think there’s a team out there willing to pay.

      Hope is a rising commodity this time of year. Market correction coming mid October. Would love to be wrong with this prognostication.

    • Craig1981

      Because of the following reasons:

      -Most experts agree it might be the deepest draft ever. They compare it to 1988 that had the following FRANCHISE players. Modano, Linden, Roenick, Selanne, Brind’Amour. in the top 10….You don’t trade away a 50/50 chance at a player like that for a 2nd line center

      -You presume a team will give us the center we want, we have no idea.

      -A lot of those players taken in 1988 and 2003 we making solid contributions earlier than 4-5 years in the league. And regardless aren’t you planning on being a fan in 5 years?

      -How would you of felt right now if we would of traded Taylor Hall’s pick for David Booth

      -Because one list of the worst trade Yashin for Chara and a 1st (spezza)…..

      -Maple leafs traded their 1st that was used for Scott Niedermayer….they got Kurvers …..this sounds EXACTLY what you want to risk.

      • Dwayne Roloson 35

        My only counter to that would be this… I believe and I would hope the Oilers believe they have those centers in Nuge and Drais. Just get me the help now rather than let them twist in the wind and get killed on the ice while we wait for yet another kid to develope.

        You’re right, the oilers could give up a special player in order to provide some depth and protection now which I’d rather than wait and hope until 2018-2019 for this player to be useful / special. Any of those players you mentioned above took a few years to become “impactful”.

        The 1st would be in any discussion involving ROR or Anisimov. Or the 2nd could be used to help pry a Sutter or Berglund. If those teams aren’t interested then fine let’s hope Arco can help.

          • There’s a very good chance it will be a top ten pick which has a very good chance of a long career, and yes most first rounders do play in the nhl…. I like the looks of the team and agree that filling that 2C spot would make a very playoff looking roster but on the other hand I’m very apprehensive on Eakins’ coaching and wouldn’t put that pick on the line…. He clearly demonstrated last year his stubbornness when he refused to adapt to his players strengths and didn’t modify his system until December when it was far too late…. His high pressure box plus 1 in the d zone may have worked in the minors but there’s a reason it hasn’t been used in the NHL for 10 years, higher skilled players can see and make the plays that it’s vulnerable to…. I’ve never been a Dubnyk fan but he’s not as bad as his stats look last year due to this system, how many times did we see 4 oilers facing a man in the corner on the cycle pass it to the slot(the most lethal scoring area)with absolutely zero coverage or pressure on him….. Eakins will be a great coach at some point but not for the oil and not until he checks his ego and learns to adapt…. A good ego example of Eakins is when hall was benched…. Hall is by far best we have skill wise but his mental lapses keep him from being the dominant player his skills should make him, how many times did his stupid passes kill opposing teams penalties??? But when he got benched it wasn’t for reasons such as that which would have been completely justified but for throwing a water bottle on the ground in the bench(A regular occurrence in the league) and also showing intensity this teams been lacking for years, unfortunately it sprayed Eakins suit earning hall a lesson that had zero benefit to the team and was more about Eakins feeding his ego…. I dragged that out but I’d love to hear some responses with examples to the contrary

          • Quicksilver ballet

            If Eakins was going to come in and further develop the systems Krueger put in place there would have been no sense in making the change. The guy was in a no win situation for a first year coach with a fan base that expected the playoffs and a roster that didn’t have the makeup. He also had leftovers for a coaching staff and a goalie that just lost his game. He had to give his systems a chance to justify his hiring to his boss. In that light making changes to it as early as December showed a willingness to check his ego and react to the situation. By season’s end they were a better team.
            I wouldn’t dwell on the water bottle. It’s been ridiculously overblown.

      • Dwayne Roloson 35

        I sure hope the oil do something soon to speed up the rebuild. How long do they expect the fans to wait? At this rate I’ll probably be dead before I get to see another playoff game!

      • Dwayne Roloson 35

        you are cherry picking positive results to support your point. The reality is draft picks are serially over valued. Most first rounders will never play a full season in the nhl.

    • CMG30

      “Please, someone explain to me why the 2015 1st rounder is so taboo to talk about using a that as a trade piece for this elusive centre?”

      Connor MacDavid and the deepest draft since 2003. Yes, I fully expect the Oilers to be much improved next season but come on, it’s the Oilers… I’ve expected improvement every year and they consistently prove me wrong. Even if I”m right and they improve, with that draft the Oil still have a decent chance to snag a franchise quality player later in the first round.

    • Jordan McNugent-Hallkins

      You never paid attention to the Phil Kessel trade did you?

      Tyler Seguin and Dougie Hamilton for Kessel. Even if it were one of those two it would be an overpay. Kessel’s great offensively but he’s one of those players that is one dimensional and offers nothing when he isn’t scoring. Which can be often because he’s really streaky.

      • Quicksilver ballet

        I did and you can’t say what those picks have been if Toronto doesn’t make that trade. Maybe they end up with Hall and Nuge, and they are battling with Oilers for that 1st overall for the past 4 years. My point is that I’d take the chance if the option was there. It’s a long shot to get an impact player when you’re looking outside the top 7-10 which I would expect (well hope) the Oilers to be…

  • YakCity1039

    Oh and if the choice is only between Roy, Loktionov or Arcobello I’ll take Arco over those other two. Although, Loktionov as a “just in case” or to create that competition would be a wise move, but not one that’s going to really help this team in my opinion.

  • BorjeSalming-IanTurnbull

    Sorry LT, I hear what you are saying but right now the Oilers C depth other than a veteran Gordon and junior 3rd year RNH. Leaving the other two spots to rookie 19yr old Leo and AHL’ers Lander and Arco. My comfort in the Oilers 2014/15 success would be with veteran NHL C via trade. Use that remaining 8.5 million and get some stability. Please

  • BorjeSalming-IanTurnbull

    So Arco is comparable to 3 guys no one wants? I think we’re Ok with Lander-Arco battling it out for the 3rd line but not both as 2 and 3. If Draisaitl needs more time – and he should probably get it -that’s what we got. If MacT doesn’t get another NHL C then it’s unfair to put this pressure on Leon.

  • BorjeSalming-IanTurnbull

    I wouldn’t be surprised if Cap wise the Oilers just weren’t willing to spend every last penny of it and leave zero wiggle room. But my guess is their thinking is:

    a) A serviceable C will be had on the cheap later in the summer once teams have ceased spending and desperate players are available.

    b) Arcobello did well in an albeit small sample size. But the top 9 has now been upgraded somewhat so why can’t he duplicate?

    c) 9th-11th finish in the West by all accounts will be considered a positive step in the right direction and a goal they are ok with.

  • Dwayne Roloson 35

    any C on a 1-2 year deal would be alright. someone will get hurt this season and we’ll need a C. We do still have Hendricks who has played C so that hes good at faceoffs.someone else is needed though.

  • Dwayne Roloson 35

    The free agent pool is picked over now, we all know that. Many will criticize MacT over not signing a 2nd line C yet, however I think a creative trade involving a combination of using our surplus of defensive prospects, ability to take back a somewhat bad contract, picking on teams with cap issues, draft picks, 3 way trade, or buyouts.

    MacT, Howson, analytics guys, and all the scouting guys should be targeting a dozen or so centers around the league. A decent size, 2way veteran C who consistently puts up 45-50 pts a year. Someone who can play solid for two years until LD is ready. IF LD legitimately makes the team next season, it HAS to be as a 3C. Once you have a list, start getting on the phone and come up with the player you need.

  • Dwayne Roloson 35

    Screw that first rounder and all other “picks”. Have we been so used to losing that we actually want to horde a pick rather than add a piece that will help our team win now? Lots of people are negative about the upcoming season due to all the PAST losing. Every new season that’s starts is a new clean slate. The past don’t matter. I think a lot if people will be surprised this year but if u follow the team closely for all these years you know for a fact the oilers have been dealing with some bad players and a HEAP of bad luck. Mact actually almost has a full roster decent enuff to make some noise. Give em a chance

    • Oilers4ever

      Agreed. The whole mentality of keeping that 1st round pick with the thought you are possibly losing a top 5 pick is pathetic. Support winning people and get off this high 1st round pick. Are you willing to accept a decade of no playoffs? That’s what you sound like you are supporting by not taking a chance. Are you telling me that you don’t have the faith in trading next year’s first rounder based on the following core:

      Hall, Ebs, RNH, Leon, Yak, Perron, Marincin, Klefbom, and Nurse? In 3-4 years that is an amazing top 9 btwn forward and defense. Adding the bigger support that MacT has done so far along with last year gives some veteran presence. Trade the damn 1st rounder for next year for the 2c we need. Give Leon another year in the WHL and we’ll be fine. Have some faith and for fricks sake stop worrying about picks for “possible” future talent. Rebuilds don’t take this long. The rise up begins now.

  • Craig1981

    Up till now Mact. has failed to get the two most important acquisitions to our team to make us competitive . Until he does he’ll remain a failure as much as the club . Going back to that which did not work any good before is not going to move us in a positive direction . He could see it with Gagner , Smyth , Horcoff and Hemsky but somehow turns a blind eye to AHL’er like Arco , Landers and Acton who are not as good as the ones he got rid of .

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  • Given the zonestarts and the teams they were playing for, Ribeiro and Roy sure had garbage seasons.

    I’d have time for Loktionov, but he’s in the same category as Arcobello – there are some nice things but he’s not proven.

  • bwar

    If you could get Loktionov to agree on either a pro tryout or a cheap one year deal he would be well worth it. He’s young, has decent numbers and in my opinion at least an upgrade over Joensuu for the Gordon/Hendricks line.

  • CMG30

    Why is everyone forgetting Yakupov .He could surprise and at his size he could fill the hole and size need for the time being . A Yakupov, Arcopello ,Ladner Combo for the first 3 months works well until one of them rises to the top of the pile.

  • bwar

    One problem with a rookie GM is that he thinks because he has been a player and coach he automaticly is a candidate for GM. Mac still dithers far too much to be a suuccessful architect if an NHL organization. He seems to get to certain point and he starts with the classic dithering pattern we have seen with the Oil before.

    Case in point. The Pajaarvi-Perron is about all he has to hang his hat on as a clear winner move. We watch veteran GM’a out-perform him because they are willing to trade quality to get a quality player back. Now all the FA centres are off the market and Msc is left standing again with his dick in his hand.

    • Chainsawz

      You do know that the players are the ones who actualky play the game right. Yak needs to come into camp this year ready and wilkjng to buy into whatever role hes given. Even if he wants to be traded whos going to trade for a spoiled Russian who very well might bolt back to the motherland when things dont go his way?

      Bottom line is his future in this league is up to him and him only.

  • Can we please get Arcos P/60 splits for the year? His season was really two seasons in one. The first part of the year he racked up the points playing with good players. The second half of the year, when his production “slid”, was right around the time he was paired up with knuckle dragging come machines who struggle to take and make a pass. I’d argue when put into a position to succeed his true performance exceeds what his listed totals for the “year” show.