JOURNEY FOR ARCOBELLO NOT OVER
By Chris Wescott,
Chris Wescott, Edmonton Oilers
Mark Arcobello’s journey should now be common knowledge to Edmonton Oilers fans.
The undersized Yale University alumnus worked his way up from being undrafted, to serving time in the minors at both the ECHL and AHL levels before becoming ‘Mr. Baron’ in Oklahoma City and eventually earning NHL time and his one-year contract extension.
It wasn’t the easiest of paths to get to his first good taste of NHL hockey, but the end result was the same. Arcobello will go into the 2014 training camp focused on earning a full-time spot.
“It’s just another opportunity and I’ve got to put the work in this summer and come to camp ready,” Arcobello said in an interview with okcbarons.com. “It’s going to be the same as it was this year, I’m going to have to earn my spot and do whatever work is necessary up there.”
The Milford, Connecticut native first earned a spot with the Barons in Oklahoma City after 33 games in the ECHL with the Stockton Thunder. From there, Arcobello would go on to become the Oilers American Hockey League affiliate’s all-time leader in goals (60), assists (101) and points (161) and playoff points (35).
“He’s too good for this league,” said Barons Head Coach Todd Nelson, shortly after Arcobello returned to Oklahoma City after his stint with the Oilers.
This season, Arcobello earned a spot out of camp and played 41 games with Edmonton, scoring 18 points (4-14-18) before being sent back to OKC. There he played with a competitive fire, almost certainly looking to prove something to the Oilers. He posted 10 goals and 18 assists for 28 points in just 15 games with the Barons before injuring his shoulder.
Those numbers prompted the Oilers to give him the extension.
“It was a big year,” the forward said. “To get the chance to play in the NHL was great for my confidence and my career. Coming back down here and being able to contribute right away was big too. Overall, it was a good year and I hope only to move forward.”
It is the 25 year-old’s competitiveness that has sustained him thus far in his career. The 5-foot-8, 166-pound Arcobello led all Oilers forwards in hits while he was with the team. As the rest of the roster played more games, that list grew larger in front of Arcobello but he still finished the season with 78, good for sixth on the team (third best among Oilers forwards).
For a coaching staff that stresses the importance of compete level and fight in their players, Arcobello’s approach and attitude to his game should be welcomed in Edmonton.
The journey is not over for Arcobello. He showed loyalty in re-signing with Edmonton, “the team that gave me my first chance.”
However, Arcobello still sees an opportunity to earn and keep a spot while working towards another, longer contract.
It all starts with hitting the ground running in the off-season. Arcobello began skating, coming off his injury late in the season and into the playoffs but never returned to game action. After resting up in those last couple of weeks, Arcobello says he will waste no time in preparing for this year’s training camp.
“Since I’ve been hurt, I’ve had a few weeks off already. I’m going to head back to Connecticut and start training probably in the next couple of weeks, probably next week and get right back in the swing of things.”
As for heading into his first off-season equipped with his new contract, Arcobello looks back fondly at the time he has spent in OKC. It is a place where he grew as a player as he fought to get his first taste of the NHL.
“It’s a great city,” said the player who’s 188 games played sits second atop of the Barons’ record books. “It’s a great city to play in and I love it here. The fans have been great to me all four years and I’ve really enjoyed my time here.”
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