Examining Oilers Options at Centre: Internal & External

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Internal Options:

Then there are the internal options of Mark Arcobello, Anton Lander and Will Acton.  All three are said to be battling for the fourth line centre role but now it appears that one of them could get a chance to fill Gagner’s role as the second line centre.

It’s hard to imagine either of the three would last long-term on the second line.  They don’t have the offensive game to contribute to the level that Gagner does.

None the less, if it’s only for a few weeks then perhaps one of them could transition nicely and be a pleasant surprise for Oilers fans.  Which one could it be?  I’m inclined to go with Anton Lander.

The 22-year old Swede is knocking on the door to secure a full-time spot with the Oilers and this could be his chance.  He’s only played in 67 career games over the past two seasons with the Oilers and has only lit the lamp twice.  Keep in mind he’s only played an average of ten minutes per game and was usually in a third or fourth line role that had a more checking requirement to it.

Putting Lander beside David Perron, Ales Hemsky and/or Nail Yakupov will certainly help take his game to the next level.  He’ll have scoring chances like he’s never had before and given his natural offensive abilities, he could help plug the hole at centre.

Of course what will play out is anyone’s guess but the Oilers are running out of time if they plan on doing something outside of the organization.  With only two exhibition games remaining and seven days until opening night, it’s likely the Oilers will run every internal scenario possible until proven it can’t work.  Will it be to late if it gets to that?

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

  • 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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