Examining Oilers Options at Centre: Internal & External

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The Edmonton Oilers are in a peculiar position of trying to fill their roster with centremen who can contribute to their top two lines after Sam Gagner‘s injury on Saturday.  Rumblings have begun that indicate the Oilers will search from within their organization to fill Gagner’s role while fans are crying for a legitimate, second line centre.

While the latter is the preffered route, it may not be the easiest at this point unless Craig MacTavish is willing to trade off an asset to pluck a solid second-line centreman from another club.  Even then, that’s easier said than done given it’s training camp and no club will want to part ways with high end talent.

So what options to the Oilers have?  Do they go internal or external in their quest to patch the middle part of the Oilers roster? Jordan Eberle played centre during his junior days with the Regina Pats and could spend some time up the middle over the next few exhibition games.  Not ideal, but it’s an option.

Here are a few other options that still remain when looking at what the Oilers could do to replace Sam Gagner for the short-term, in no particular order.

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Topics: Anton Lander, David Steckel, Edmonton Oilers, Mark Acrobello, Sam Gagner, Tim Connolly, Will Acton

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  • Cody Anderson

    I like the Steckel option best, and hate the Lander option. I see him the same as Belanger only not as good on the draw. He is a fringe player that has shown absolutely 0 offense at the NHL level. It appears as though he is penalty killing even when he plays 5 on 5.
    I would not have him on the team even with our injuries. If I was filling from within I would have Acrobello in the top 6 and Acton on the 4th line.

    • Derek Stykalo

      Thanks for the comments Cody. I’m with you on Steckel and truth be told I’ve liked him from the beginning of the free-agent period. It’s doubtful they’ll reach out and sign him unless Minnesota cuts him from his PTO.

      As for Arcobello, listening to Mac-T it sounds like he’s going to get the shot at least to start. Lander may be running out of time with this club so another AHL stint could be in his future. Thanks for reading.

      • Cody Anderson

        I think it depends on their intent. If they want a player to fill in on the bottom 6 and move Gordon up to the top 6 then Acrobello is not a good fit. If you are playing him in Gagner’s role where he is fed softer minutes and put with elite wingers I think Acrobello will score at a nice clip and may very well create trade value for himself after Nuge and Gagner are healthy.

  • BillHK

    From what Eakins has said so far and the fact that there seems to be similar trains of thought between him and MacT, I think that they will fill it internally.

    It is probably still up in the air as to which of the three gets sent down, and I would be surprised if all 3 don’t get at least 2 more exhibition games to prove that they have what it takes.

    All this said, I would prefer that they sign Steckel to a relatively affordable 1 year contract, or get a player on waiver day. They probably need another C in OKC if the depth is as weak as it appears now.

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