When Josh Archibald received a qualifying offer from the Pens earlier this summer, he had a pretty good idea he was going to be back with the organization.
But to get a two-year, one-way contract extension with an average annual value of $675,000 was pretty awesome.
"To be able to get that one-way, it's a really good feeling," Archibald said. "We were up to accepting anything with Pitt, but this was definitely kind of icing on the cake. It was something I'd been trying to work for and for them to have that faith in me that they can hopefully see me as an NHLer hopefully soon, it's a nice relieving feeling."
The Saskatchewan native called on Thursday from Omaha, Nebraska, where he played three years at the University of Nebraska-Omaha. He's there training and preparing to take on a bigger role this season in Pittsburgh.
"I was talking to my dad and mom and they were like, 'well, the hard work really begins now,'" Archibald said with a laugh. "You've got to prove to them that you deserve to be there and everything. It's really exciting."
The 24-year-old is certainly putting in the work for his professional life, and there's a lot going on in his personal life as well. Archibald and his wife, Bailey - who got married last summer - are expecting their first child on Aug. 13. They're hoping he or she - they aren't finding out the gender ahead of time - will be here in time for his day with the Stanley Cup.
In the midst of everything going on for the couple, including planning a baby shower, Archibald hasn't had time to sit and reflect on what has happened. But he hopes he'll have time soon to do that.
"I haven't really had time just to sit back and soak things up," he said. "But I might have to take some time to reflect here within the next couple weeks and just sit down and realize what truly just happened. It's pretty amazing."
Archibald spent most of the 2016-17 season with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton of the AHL, but did play 10 games at the NHL level this past season, registering three goals and a plus-4, after playing in one game in the 2015-16 season. He also skated in four playoff games in 2017.
One of Archibald's appearances this spring was in Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Final against Nashville, which means his name will be engraved on the Cup. The team's confidence in Archibald has, in turn, given him confidence moving forward.
"For them to have the confidence to put me in against Ottawa and even in that Nashville game, it's definitely a boost for me just showing that 'yeah, we have confidence in you,'" he said. "We know what you can do as long as you go out and do it. It was a really good feeling and hopefully I can just build on that and continue moving in the right direction."
For Archibald, that means continuing to be what he called an "energy guy" who uses his speed in all areas, but in particular to create havoc for the other team's defensemen with his forechecking and physicality. He also hopes to showcase one of his other strengths, which is penalty killing.
"I didn't get to show it as much at the NHL level as I did at the AHL level, but hopefully as the years continue, I'll get to improve on that in the NHL," he said. "Just going out and being consistent and bringing the energy every shift and every night that I can."