Josh Archibald had himself a fine regular season with the Edmonton Oilers this year. Taking the road less travelled to get to the NHL and Edmonton, he signed a one-year, $1-million deal with the team and became a jack-of-all-trades for the Oilers this year.
It took a while for him to get there, but he found success on the Oilers third line along with Riley Sheahan and Jujhar Khaira. By the time the season wrapped up, he scored 12 goals and 21 points in 62 games and was on pace for a career-high in all point categories.
Archibald showed his ability to jump up the lineup and he contributed offensively when Zack Kassian was suspended. He was one of the Oilers top penalty killers this year, and surely he’ll be doing the same when hockey returns in August.
Archibald will see time in the Oilers bottom six and will be asked to kill penalties against the worst powerplay unit that’s returning to play. The Blackhawks only scored on 15.2 per cent of their powerplay chances. It was the fourth-worst this season and was above only the Detroit Red Wings, Anaheim Ducks and Ottawa Senators.
That’s good news for Archibald, who was a big part of the Oilers second-ranked penalty kill unit.
At even-strength, the Oilers will deploy Archibald in a checking role not unlike he’s been used to in his time in the NHL. The hope is he and his linemates will be able to take advantage of a very weak bottom-six forward group the Blackhawks deploy.
In the playoffs
If the Oilers beat Chicago in the first round, I can see Archibald being a great playoff player for the Oilers. He has a high-energy, physical game that would fit well. In 2016-17, he played in four playoff games for the Stanley Cup-winning Pittsburgh Penguins but didn’t see much ice time. He only played 10 regular-season games for Pittsburgh that year and was just starting to find his way in the NHL.
All in all, I think Archibald has been a great asset for the Oilers and I expect that to continue into the play-in tournament and into the playoffs.
On Twitter: @zjlaing