Oklahoma City Barons center Mark Arcobello has proved a player's lack of size, or where he played, isn't always an accurate forecast of his pro potential.
Arcobello finished third in the American Hockey League in scoring with 68 points, including 46 assists. He's an American Hockey League All-Star who supplied the game-winning assist in the final seconds of this year's All-Star Game.
The 23-year-old Milford, Conn., product played in only one game with the Edmonton Oilers, but his NHL debut realized a lifelong dream.
And by the way, Arcobello proudly reminds everyone Yale, his alma mater, won the national title.
It's been a memorable year for Arcobello, who will try to accumulate more highlights when the Barons host Charlotte on Friday night at the Cox Convention Center in Game 1 of a first-round, best-of-5 playoff series.
“I've been happy with the season,” Arcobello said. “I got a lot of help from (Jordan) Eberle and (Taylor) Hall and (Justin) Schultzy when they were here. But I'm also proud my production didn't drop off after those guys left. The main goal now is to win the Calder Cup.”
What makes Arcobello's season even more remarkable is he's constantly changed forward lines.
Early in the season, he primarily was matched with team captain Josh Green and Curtis Hamilton.
When former No. 1 overall draft pick Ryan Nugent-Hopkins left around the holidays to play for Canada in the junior world championships, Arcobello joined the line of Eberle and Hall, the Oilers' two young stars.
After the NHL lockout ended, Arcobello has been shuffled several times. He currently centers the No. 1 line, flanked by former NHL standout Jonathan Cheechoo and talented rookie Toni Rajala.
How many linemates total?
“I don't think I have enough fingers on my two hands to count it up,” said Barons coach Todd Nelson. “He's played with a lot of different people and still found a way to get things done. That's a big feather in his hat.”
The actual total is 14.
Arcobello said the biggest challenge is learning teammates' tendencies in addition to vocal communication, which maximizes scoring chances.
“It definitely takes a little getting used,” Arcobello said. “Hall and Eberle are such great players, they made it easy for me. Now, playing with Toni and Cheech, we're building some chemistry. I know certain areas they want the puck.”
Arcobello started his rookie season at Stockton in Double-A but has spent the past 21/2 seasons with the Barons. In 172 games in Oklahoma City he's scored 133 points, including 83 assists.
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