Small in stature but not in the way he plays, forward Josh Archibald was a player who many noticed out on the ice throughout development camp in mid-July as he displayed what he does best – competitiveness.
“He’s not a big guy but his skills stand out,” Wilkes-Barre/Scranton assistant coach Alain Nasreddine said. “I like his ‘compete’ and that’s something that is sometimes left out. You see a guy and sometimes see that left out but ‘Archie’ competes. The way he goes after it, his whole demeanor the way he goes after it. It’s what we appreciate in a player – especially a skill player.”
Playing on third and fourth line duties for most of his freshman year at the University of Nebraska-Omaha in 2011-12, Archibald impressed many in development camp with his tenacity and his ability to compete at a high level as a skill player.
Archibald said that his role with UNO gave him a chance to work on a different aspect of his game, which will help in the long term and give him more flexibility as a player.
“We started off the season really well,” Archibald said. “Personally, for me I had a great start. I kind of played a different role playing a grinder and not much of a scorer as you can say. I was putting up more points at the beginning of the season and I felt like I was helping the team out that way as compared to a third or fourth line grinder.”
Drafted in the sixth round (174th overall) of the 2011 NHL Draft, Archibald has taken immense steps to make himself a bigger, faster player. Listed at only 5-foot-10 and 161 pounds on draft day, the center said he has already put on about 20 pounds and has now garnered the reputation as a workout fiend amongst the Penguins staff.
“I definitely got a lot bigger size wise,” the 19-year-old said. “My speed definitely picked up going from high school to college right away. Game sense you pick up along the way. Your hands and feet are working together, that also comes along with practices and games throughout the season.”
His father, Jim Archibald, who was drafted by the Minnesota North Stars in the seventh round (139th overall) in the 1981 NHL Draft, gives the younger Archibald a little bit of something to look up to. But that hasn’t stopped Josh from paving the way to become his own player.
“I like to model my game after Cal Clutterbuck,” Archibald said. “He’s a smaller guy, he’s feisty. He’ll go in the corner and do a lot of the dirty things for you, but he can also put points up on the board. He comes up big when you need them.”
Archibald also competed for Team USA at this past World Junior Championship, adding even more experience to his already budding career.
“It was crazy. It was definitely a dream come true,” Archibald said of representing his country. “Playing against all the top 19, 18 year olds in the world is definitely something I’ll soak in and cherish for the rest of my life.”