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VandeVelde Gets Called Up

The seemingly constant rotation of centres between the Oilers and Barons continues.

Dale MacMillan

A day after sending Mark Arcobello back to the Oklahoma City Barons and placing Anton Lander on the injured reserve with a foot injury, the Oilers have recalled Chris VandeVelde to help fill in their roster. The announcement was made via the Oilers Twitter account.

As good as the Arcobello story was it makes sense, with the return of Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, for the Oilers to make the switch to VandeVelde because he's simply better suited to a role in the bottom six. If the Oilers are looking to employ a fourth line that can cycle the puck in the offensive zone and maybe throw a couple of hits at the same time then the guy with the 5" height advantage is the guy who should get the call.

VandeVelde, the Oilers fourth round pick in the 2005 draft, has played a handful of games with the Oilers in each of the last two seasons. In his five games with the Oilers last season VandeVelde recorded his first NHL goal and technically led the Oilers with a shooting percentage of 100%. This season VandeVelde has played 38 games with the Barons scoring just two times and adding eight more assists. Not big numbers by any means but fairly consistent with his production over the past two seasons.

Even with the addition of VandeVelde the Oilers will still need to find another centre for tomorrow afternoon's game against the Red Wings because Eric Belanger can't come off the injured reserve until Sunday. That probably means that the team will use Ryan Smyth as a centre for at least one more game.

Ben Eager is ready to return to the lineup but that gives the Oilers only 22 players so they will still have a spot for Belanger on Sunday without having to send VandeVelde back to Oklahoma City. That would mean the Oilers could have four actual centres in their lineup on Sunday.