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Chicago Blackhawks: Mark Arcobello A Free Agency Target

By Skylar Peters
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The opening of 2015 NHL free-agency is now less than 24 hours away, but in contrast to recent years, an eerie calm has set among rumor mills, which are usually churning at maximum capacity.

Some of it has to do with the salary cap saddling most NHL teams, and a weaker-than-usual free-agent class isn’t helping matters, either.

The Chicago Blackhawks know all too well about the former. The Blackhawks, just weeks removed from becoming 2015 Stanley Cup Champions, will have to make some serious compromises to ice a competitive, yet cap-compliant team come next October.

Some of the names on the chopping block include Bryan Bickell, Patrick Sharp, and Kris Versteeg. Though not all three of them may go, at least one certainly will, and it will likely be for a less-than desirable return.

With the trade forecast looking bleak, the Blackhawks must turn to other methods, to retool their roster. Enter; free agency.

Though this year’s free agent class is far removed from a year ago, there are certainly some diamonds in the rough. The Arizona Coyotes may have surrendered one more on Monday, when they did not submit a qualifying offer to 26-year old Mark Arcobello.

Arcobello is no stranger to moving: he did so four times last year. He started the season with the Edmonton Oilers, who originally signed the Conneticut native in 2011. After spending nearly half the season in Edmonton, he was traded to Nashville, for Derek Roy.

Arcobello got his only point with the Predators in his first game, and less than two weeks later, he was placed on waivers. The Pittsburgh Penguins picked Arcobello up, but he faced a similar fate, after playing only ten games.

This time, it would be the Coyotes who would claim Arcobello. He is the third player in NHL history to play on four teams in a single season.

With all of that movement, one would think it would be nearly impossible for Arcobello to find consistency, and contribute. however, he finished the season with 17 goals, in 77 games. That’s 3 more than Bryan Bickell, in 3 less games. Arcobello’s salary last year: $600,000. That’s a far cry from the $4 million that the Blackhawks paid for Bickell, and will pay for the next two years, if they cannot move him.

Arcobello won’t be looking for a raise; in fact, he’ll be looking for a place to play.

His season hasn’t gone unnoticed by scouts and general managers across the NHL, however, Stan Bowman will have to be one of the first to reach out to Arcobello, if the Blackhawks want to have a shot at signing the free-agent. Arcobello will likely not wait around to make a deal, and at his asking price, negotiation will be quick and pain-less. If Bowman gets on his horse and contacts Arcobello, there’s a good chance the team will be a major contender to sign him. When the Chicago Blackhawks come calling, you answer (see: Brad Richards).

It’s a no-brainer for the Blackhawks. A one-year, two-way contract around $800,000 is likely all it would take to bring Arcobello to the Windy City. If things don’t work out for the forward, he can go down to Rockford, and be a #1 or #2 forward on a team that is likely to contend for a division title next season.

Signing Arcobello certainly isn’t the Blackhawks’ biggest priority, especially since they have yet to make salary cap room for anyone at all. However, Arcobello presents an interesting option for Stan Bowman to pursue, in what will otherwise be a quiet free-agency for the Blackhawks this off-season.

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