Ask Matty: Arcobello’s future with Oilers up in the air
Oilers should give him fourth-line, second power-play centre role
Q: Is Mark Arcobello a part of the Edmonton Oilers’ future plans?
(Robert Thompson, Chicago)
A: You would think he’s proven to be an NHLer, but as of last week, they had not told the 165-pound centre to move out of his hotel and into an apartment or condo, a tipoff after a month of the season they are still not completely sold on him. Not sure why. He’s got 10 points. His game has dropped off since second-line Sam Gagner returned from his broken jaw; Arcobello had to slide over to the wing as a result. To me, he’s not a winger — it’s too much work along the boards for his diminutive size. I’d actually like to see them give Arcobello a shot as the fourth-line centre like fellow small forward Kyle Wellwood used to. Use him there, have him on the second PP and killing penalties so he gets 10-11 minutes a game. They could move Will Acton over to the wing on the fourth line in place of Ben Eager or Luke Gazdic, depending on how tough the opposition is.
Q: What do the Oilers think of Anton Lander?
A: Not as much as they once did. He keeps getting yo-yoed up and down between AHL Oklahoma City and the Oilers, and this is his third year as a North American pro. He played pro in the Swedish Elite League for four years before that. He didn’t make the Oilers out of camp, he played a good game in Los Angeles against the Kings in late October but was sent back to the farm the next day after a quick recall, summoned again after the 4-0 loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs, and they don’t play him against Detroit this past Saturday. Lander is quiet by nature, but if deep down he’s starting to get the message he doesn’t fit as an Oiler long-term, you might not be far off. He’s played 68 games total for them. So far, the Oilers have had trouble figuring where Lander fits. I’d say he’s trade material, just as his fellow 2009 draft Magnus Paajarvi was.
Q: Can you confirm if the Oilers sellout streak ended at the Red Wings’ game?
A: Not true. While ESPN.com listed it as 16,389 which is 450 under a full-house, they perhaps transposed the numbers (full-house is 16,839). NHL.com lists the attendances and it was a sellout, which gives the Oilers more than 300 in a row at Rexall Place. If they don’t start winning at home soon, that streak might be jeopardy.
Q: I saw where you said the Winnipeg Jets can’t get free-agents and they overpay to keep their players. Pay me league minimum and I’ll go play in Iraq. I don’t buy it. Enstrom is the only player currently overpaid.
A: You’re probably right. I overstepped things by saying they pay too much to keep their guys. Evander Kane makes the going rate for young star at $5.25 million for six years. You don’t think Blake Wheeler is a tad overpaid at $5.6 million per for six years? He’s not a goal-scorer. He’s played close to 390 games and has 98 career goals. Enstrom is the Jets’ best D-man so $5.75 mil for him actually seems about right. He’s Dustin Byfuglien’s safety net on the back-end. They are not the first choice of free-agents, however. And they do scour the waiver wire for bargains like Keaton Ellerby last week.
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