If you’re looking for a bright light for the Edmonton Oilers and their awful 2013-14 NHL season, you’re going to be hard pressed. Almost nothing has gone according to plan or by the book, while the fleet of top-end young forwards have under-performed and been outworked on a nightly basis.
Nail Yakupov has reached bona fide prima donna status, Taylor Hall has battled injuries (again) and no one on the blue line seems to know how to actually play defense.
One of the only players that has managed to do anything positive this season is Mark Arcobello, and the Oilers have rewarded him for his constant effort by demoting him to the AHL.
— Edmonton Oilers (@EdmontonOilers) November 15, 2013
It’s understood that Arcobello only got his chance to make an impact when the lineup was riddled with injuries. It isn’t like this is the Chicago Blackhawks or Boston Bruins we’re talking about though. This isn’t a move to get a promising young player some ice time in the minors while the NHL squad kicks butt and takes no names.
This is an Edmonton team that is 4-14-2. This is an Edmonton team that didn’t hit double-digit points in the standings until November, and this is an Edmonton team that has no semblance of an identity on a nightly basis. So Craig MacTavish, in his infinite wisdom, buries the squad’s fifth-leading scorer.
Arcobello has more points on the year than Ales Hemsky and Justin Schultz, and he’s tied with Hall and David Perron with 12. You’d have to combine the point totals of Nail Yakupov (4), Ryan Smyth (4), Andrew Ference (1), Sam Gagner (1) and Will Acton (3) to surpass Arcobello, yet this is the player that you demote?
It makes no sense.
Do the Oilers need another defenseman? Absolutely. And that’s why trading away Ladislav Smid was on the short-sighted side, and it’s already coming back to bite Edmonton.
How long the talented forward will be riding buses in the AHL is unclear, but one thing is certain: MacTavish has lost control of this ship entirely and the moves that he’s making are not sound ones.