Oct 162013
 

Sam Gagner and Boyd Gordon

So what happens when Sam comes back?  Even though the Edmonton Oilers are mired in a tough stretch to start the 2013-14 NHL season, there have been a few bright spots on the roster. The most prominent being the play of unheralded centre Mark Arcobello. The primary fear entering the season were the injuries to both of the team’s top two pivots, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Sam Gagner, and the organization’ s paper-thin depth to replace them. Arcobello has not only filled in admirably, he leads the team’s centres in scoring and is the second best face-off man behind free agent acquisition Boyd Gordon.

Gagner is planning on coming back ahead of schedule, so what do the Oilers do when he reappears?

Mark Arcobello

One of the fears of many Oilers’ fans prior to the start of training camp was Sam Gagner’s 5’11’ frame. The irony is that with his injury an even smaller player took his place in the form of Arcobello, who stands at a tiny 5’8″ and 166lbs.  However, size hasn’t been a deterrent with Arcobello and he has not looked out of place; he has provided a solid presence on the top two scoring lines and posted positive possession numbers.

Can the Oilers send Arcobello back to OKC and expect him to clear waivers?

The answer to that question is ‘no’. He has shown enough to start the season that it is more than likely a team would put in a claim. The better bet would be to either send Will Acton to the press box or to the farm and use Boyd Gordon in his customary 3rd/4th line role. To those who will argue, “but Gordon’s our leading goal scorer!”- it should be pointed out that Gordon’s shooting percentage is an unsustainable 36.4% and he has never scored more than 8 goals in a season. It is very unlikely he will lead the team for long. Will Acton has been good on the dot winning 54.8% of his draws, but he has been bleeding chances to the other team and the ice has a definite tilt towards the Oilers goal when he is on the ice. It would be better for a team which endeavors to play a puck possession game to move Acton out.

Will Acton

A lineup with Gagner could be envisioned as such:

Hall – RNH – Eberle

Perron – Gagner – Yakupov

Smyth- Arcobello – Hemsky

Joensuu – Gordon – Brown/Gazdic/Jones

( insert your own variations)

The point is the Oilers could roll three skill lines and one dedicated and effective checking line; a checking line that doesn’t have to concede a grossly uneven number of chances to the other team.

Combine that with some semi-competent goaltending and the season may not be over yet.

Until next time,

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Sean

Sean

Business Development; Parking & Retail at Time Business
I am a life long Edmonton Oilers fan. During the day I work for Time Business and sell barrier gates, parking equipment, and access control equipment. Through Time Business, I recently started Canada Digital Signage.com. We will be providing Digital Signage Systems to Edmonton, Calgary, Vancouver, and all over Western Canada. I have been battling and beating multiple sclerosis since 2007 and you can read about it at Own Multiple Sclerosis.com and I can be contacted through that site. I also contribute over at The Oilers Rig.com
Sean

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 Posted by at 12:36 pm

  6 Responses to “So what happens when Sam comes back?”

  1. I thought Smyth worked well with Eberle and Arcobello when he hit the net, Hemsky also seemed to work well with Hall….might just switch those two around. I think 1st/2nd/3rd can be interchangeable and compete for 1st line honors. Make each line dependent on working together for 1st line rights….it shouldn’t be a given.

    Hall – RNH – Hemsky

    Perron – Gagner – Yakupov

    Smyth- Arcobello – Eberle

    Joensuu/Pitlick – Gordon – Brown/Gazdic/Jones

  2. dam I didn’t know Mark Arc had to clear waivers to be sent down… definitely complicates things, and I agree that someone would claim him.

  3. Hall-Rnh-Hemsky
    Eberle-Gags-Yak
    Joensuu-Gordon-Perron
    Jones-Arc/Acton-Smyth/Brown/Gazdic

  4. As long as Hemsky isn’t in the top 6 I am happy. He is skilled offensively, but way too hard to play with. I believe he needs a very capable defensive specialist with him.

    My lines would look like this;

    Hall – RNH – Yakupov
    Perron – Gagner – Eberle
    Joensuu – Gordon – Hemsky
    Smyth – Acrobello – Jones/Acton/Brown

  5. @codybrentanderson I love the idea of having Yakupov on the first line. Also, I would agree Joensuu and Smyth could be switched. I like how you dropped Gazdic- I think the fourth line has been a black hole chances-wise, and he’s just not enough of an actual hockey player.

  6. @Kooler agreed.

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