FUTURE WATCH | Mark Arcobello
Mark Arcobello has lit up the AHL since his return to the Oklahoma City Barons, as he works towards the ultimate goal of a return to the NHL.
Mark Arcobello returned to Oklahoma City bent on forcing the Edmonton Oilers hand. He craves a return to the NHL and so he went about making that happen in the best way he could think of; he started tormenting his opponents and lighting up the stat sheet.
“Whenever there’s setbacks, it’s always motivation to prove my worth,” Arcobello said. “I came down here and I’m happy to contribute and I’ve had some success too and got some comments back. It was definitely a motivating factor to come back here and contribute right away and pick up where I left off last year here.”
Arcobello was assigned to the Barons of the American Hockey League on February 1, after a successful stint with the Oilers to start the season. He moved up and down the Oilers lineup, playing at centre and on the wing on every line from the top to the bottom. The 25-year-old NHL rookie recorded 18 points (4-14-18) in 41 games with the Oilers.
|Photo by OKC Barons/Steven Christy
But the Oilers made the move to send Arcobello back to the minors and the response from the forward has been better than expected.
“I’ve been keeping an eye on Arco to see, initially, how he would respond to that news going down,” Oilers Head Coach Dallas Eakins said on Monday. “Sometimes the guys go into a depressed mode and they aren’t very good. Arco has done exactly what we had hoped. He’s gone there and lit it on fire.”
Arcobello leads the league in points dating back to his 2014 AHL debut on February 2, with 19 (7-12-19) in nine games. On Monday, he was named CCM/AHL Player of the Week.
“It’s definitely a good honour to get,” he said. “We’ve had a pretty good stretch here of wins and we’re climbing up the standings pretty quickly.”
With Arcobello on board, the Oilers affiliate went 7-2-0-1 in the month of February, a season’s best. That month put the Barons back into the AHL’s Western Conference playoff picture.
Arcobello went down to OKC with a personal mission to earn his way back to the National Hockey League. But he also returned to his old stomping grounds with the intent on helping a youthful roster realize their potential and make the postseason.
“I knew coming down here, I’d have a lot more responsibility. (Barons Head Coach Todd Nelson) puts me in for all situations and looks to me to help the young guys along here. I think it’s important that the Barons make the playoffs here. It’s something that is good for experience and it’s good for young guys to get a taste of it right away.”
|Photo by OKC Barons/Steven Christy
Arcobello is no stranger to being a part of a winning culture. In all three of his previous seasons, the forward played for the Barons in the playoffs. He scored 12 goals in 17 playoff games last season as OKC made it to the conference finals. He sees positive signs in the young OKC locker room now that winning has become a regular occurrence.
“It’s good. Whenever you’re winning, spirits are really high so we’re having fun. There’s still work to be done. We’re still out of a spot so we’ll just keep posting up points and do everything we can in order to ensure that we get a playoff spot.”
“He’s helped our American Hockey League team get into a spot where they can contend for a playoff spot which is massive for me and for our organization,” Eakins, a former AHL coach said. “I think that, that team has to be in the playoffs. It’s just unbelievable development for those players to experience that and he’s helped them get that way. He’s obviously a guy that we’ll have to talk about in (the next few days).”
The next few days Eakins was referring to was Wednesday’s trade deadline, possible roster spot openings and the possibility of calling Arcobello up soon. He’s certainly earned it.
“I won’t lie, it’s something I think about a little bit,” Arcobello said. “But at the same time, it’s completely out of my hands and I can’t control anything. I just focus on playing my game, becoming a better player down here and what happens with trades and whatever, that’s out of my control and that’s the way I leave it.”
Arcobello has points in all nine games he’s played with the Barons. He’s dominated the competition in the hopes that he makes his return to the top league in the world once again.
“I’m not opposed to being in Oklahoma City, but my goal is to be in the NHL. My goal is to get to the NHL and stick there. Right now, I know I’ve had some success this year but I still have some work to do. I’m doing my best to try and back up to the NHL.”
Barons Player Stats | AHL Standings | Barons Schedule | Past Prospect Stats: 2012-13 | 2011-12
Stats Updated as of Monday March 3, 2014 at 11:00 p.m. MST
|d||19||61||5||10||15||-12||100||EVERETT SILVERTIPS (WHL)|
|f||19||63||31||45||76||25||65||CALGARY HITMEN (WHL)|
|DARNELL NURSE||D||19||61||12||36||48||2||83||SAULT STE. MARIE (OHL)|
|F||18||63||30||24||54||-2||55||VANCOUVER GIANTS (WHL)|
|f||19||52||15||21||36||-1||50||EVERETT SILVERTIPS (WHL)|
|F||19||64||33||28||61||28||148||EDMONTON OIL KINGS (WHL)|
|F||18||39||9||8||17||-4||14||LONDON KNIGHTS (OHL)|
|21||12||6||18||-9||8||OWEN SOUND ATTACK (OHL)|
|F||24||37||4||7||11||7||136||JOKERIT HELSINKI (FINLAND)|
|F||19||49||2||2||4||2||35||NIZHNY NOVGOROD (RUSSIA)|
|26||35||17||14||3||3.11||.908||OKLAHOMA CITY (AHL)|
|LAURENT BROSSOIT||20||7||2||4||0||3.53||.885||OKLAHOMA CITY (AHL)|
|5||2||1||1||3.63||.901||OKLAHOMA CITY (AHL)|
|22||19||n/a||n/a||n/a||3.12||.894||HPK HAMEENLINNA (FINLAND)|