While the rest of the NHL was buzzing over the blockbuster trade of Evander Kane to the Buffalo Sabres, the Arizona Coyotes made a minor move today by claiming Mark Arcobello off waivers from the Pittsburgh Penguins. In a corresponding move, the Coyotes placed forward Brandon McMillan on waivers.
Arcobello has had a rough season this year. After starting with the Edmonton Oilers, Arcobello was dealt to the Nashville Predators in exchange for Derek Roy. He lasted only two weeks in Nashville before being placed on waivers, when Pittsburgh would claim him. He would spend a month in Pittsburgh before being waived again, and this time the Coyotes sprung for his services.
This move is a good one for the Coyotes. Arcobello is a versatile forward who can play center or wing as needed. He has six goals and five assists on the year, so he adds some secondary scoring. Additionally, his 5v5 Corsi For Percentage is 51.9, and he's produced points at a rate of 0.6 goals per 60 minutes of ice time and 0.5 assists per 60 minutes.
All of these stats are an upgrade over McMillan, who has struggled mightily this season. McMillan has just one goal and two assists on the year, while posting a 5v5 Corsi For Percentage of 46.6. It's been a disappointing year for McMillan, who will likely be assigned to AHL Portland should he clear waivers.
Additionally, Arcobello's ability to play center raises interesting questions about the team's immediate future down the middle. With Joe Vitale out for extended time, and Martin Hanzal both injured and subject to trade speculation, Arcobello could be a short to medium term replacement for the Coyotes.
While Arcobello is 26 years old, he will be a restricted free agent after this season, which means Arizona can control his rights as they desire. So it is conceivable that Arcobello is a depth center for the Coyotes moving forward into next season.