Arcobello has dazzling debut, scores pair of goals in Marlies 3-2 win over Albany


For now, at least, Marc Arcobello is the victim of a numbers game in Toronto. Hanging on to a roster spot with the Leafs requires you to either have a core asset, or be able to do something that stands out from your peers.

Unfortunately for Arcobello, he doesn’t fit either side of the coin. He’s a new member of the team on a one-year, $1.1 million contract, and he wasn’t really contributing on the ice. Yes, his 11:20 of average ice time wasn’t particularly high, but through seven games played, he had zero points and largely pedestrian possession numbers. Particularly when your team is bleeding losses, you’re not going to get much benefit of the doubt.

Such is the story of much of his NHL career; he’s never strung together more than half a season with a single team. But in the AHL, he’s a different beast.

Over the years, the undrafted native of Milford, Connecticut has proved himself to be a very quality point-getter at the lower levels. At Yale University, he hovered in and around the point per game range throughout three of his four seasons, and in his first 33 ECHL games, he picked up 20 points.

As such, he began to climb the ranks. He finished his pro rookie year with the Oklahoma City Barons, and picked up 22 points in his final 26 games. He bumped that up total up to 43 in the season that followed, and had 13 points in 14 playoff games.

But perhaps his biggest breakthrough was the 2012/13 season, an AHL year that began with plenty of young talent due to the NHL’s lockout. Maybe playing with the likes of Jordan Eberle, Taylor Hall, and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins gave him an idea of what it took to control games rather than just being someone who is effective enough. Or maybe it was just getting to the prime-ish age of 24. Whatever it was, Arcobello broke out, scoring 88 points over 91 regular season and playoff games, asserting himself as one of the AHL’s best players and earning a contract with the Oilers.

That was his last full season in the AHL. He returned to the Barons for 15 games in the year that followed, scoring an insane 28 points in that time span, but began his journeyman tour with an extended look from the Oilers. Since then, he’s played with the Predators, Penguins, and Coyotes, with the latter of the three looking like a good fit for his style of play at first. 

Alas, that brings us to now. Two years later, he’s back in the league again, playing for the Toronto Marlies. If Bryon Froese is going to stay up with the Leafs long enough to steal his spot, Arcobello might be able to take Froese’s, as the producing two-way centre that takes pressure off of William Nylander.

Tonight was a great example of that. Arcobello found himself on a line with little ball of hate (and happiness) Brandon Leipsic and sniper Matt Frattin. He quickly found chemistry with Leipsic, as evidenced by this fantastic saucer pass that lead to Arcobello’s first goal, on a delayed penalty.

But that wasn’t all. Arcobello also found himself on the penalty kill with Frederik Gauthier, though they ended up conceding a 3-on-5 goal to apparent Marlies-killer Mike Sislo. He also led the team in shots, putting four pucks on net.

Oh, and there was also this, twenty seconds into 3-on-3 overtime.

It was a very nice play overall. Arcobello put a ton of effort into squeaking out the faceoff win, and Frank Corrado, knowing that his teammates weren’t in good position yet, calmly brought the puck back to his own zone. Once there, he found Arcobello, who cut to the left wing as the Devils tracked Leipsic cutting to the right. This gave him a ton of room to work with, as Yann Danis could attest to.

Overall, it was a solid debut for the 27-year-old. At the very least, he looks poised to add even more scoring touch to a team that has a lot of it. Whether that’s enough to get him back on the Leafs, however, is anyone’s guess.

Other than that…

This was a good if uneventful effort for the Marlies. The two teams combined for just 43 shots, with the bulk of them being generated by Albany’s Mike Sislo and Reid Boucher. The penalty kill could have gone a bit better, though it seems like the Devils know how to attack Sheldon Keefe’s man-disadvantage system (Sislo alone has a powerplay goal in every game he’s played against Toronto).

Antoine Bibeau had a shaky start, giving up two of the first six shots on goal, but ended up with a respectable 20 saves. Andrew Campbell also set a career high in goals with his fourth of the year; crazy, when you consider that they’re at the ten-game mark.

In less exciting news, the Marlies confirmed today that the blocked shot that sent Connor Brown to the dressing room on Friday ended up fracturing his foot. There isn’t a timeline for his return at this time.

Toronto’s next game is on Wednesday morning (school day!) in Hartford, against the Wolf Pack.

    • Gary Empey

      I too like the skill, but keep in mind 29 other teams passed up on claiming Arcobello, Panik and Frattin (30 if you include the Leafs who sent them down in the first place). The Marlies are stacked for sure as a result, but those three guys may never be NHL regulars.

  • Gary Empey

    This team is so young, so skilled, and so dominant. I can’t air for the future of this team… And the best part. This past year was our best draft yet and not a single one of those players are even on the marlies yet. This is a trend that gives me so much hope for the future. We have layers upon layers of talent… and in two or three years one of those layers will be the NHL and when that happens Were gonna be great. And people will say “we want to model teams like Detriot, Chicago, Tampa Bay, and Toronto”. Stay the course and we’ll come out the other end so much better for it.

  • jimithy

    I much prefer Clune’s grit and intangibles to acrobello’s 1 dimensional skill on the leafs. Clune is a callback to the times of Carlyle as leaf’s coach and pays homage to the lunch pail style of clarkson and orr.

  • silentbob

    If he does well with the Marlies, I’d like to see him sign with them for a long time.

    I mention before, while we will/should have a steady stream of young players coming up through the Solar Bears and Marlies, they should have a few good, veteran players as your leadership group and mentors.

    Arcobello might be a good choice for that.

  • Meathead25

    It may very well be that Arcobello is one of those perennial AHL players, that, while skilled enough, are way better at the AHL game than the NHL game, like TJ Brennan…