Josh Archibald is preparing to return to NHL action.
According to Postmedia’s Jim Matheson, the Oilers forward is quarantining in Edmonton after receiving a clean bill of health. Archibald was diagnosed with myocarditis, an inflammation of the heart, after contracting COVID-19 last year.
Archibald remains unvaccinated, Matheson added.
“He’s in Edmonton right now, quarantining, after driving up from Nebraska. He’s had many, many tests and been seen by three different doctors and he’s been given a clean, bill of health,” Edmonton Oilers general manager Ken Holland told Matheson.
If he were to return to the Oilers lineup, due to his vaccination status he would only be able to play in games in Canada. This is due to cross-border regulations.
Realistically, Archibald would be eligible to play in 15 of the Oilers’ remaining 31 games. One other player in the NHL remains unvaccinated in Detroit Red Wings forward Tyler Bertuzzi. He only is eligible to play in games in the States.
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It’s hard to imagine Archibald being anything more than a 12th forward on a team that is only running 11. Archibald was a good penalty killer, but I have a hard time seeing him crack it now under Jay Woodcroft. Zach Hyman (20:04), Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (19:19), Ryan McLeod (15:45), Derek Ryan (14:12) and Leon Draisaitl (12:13) have been the most used PK’ers under Woodcroft and I doubt Archibald would crack that list.
The best bet for both Archibald and the Oilers might be to find a trade to an American team. Could a team like the Colorado Avalanche maybe be interested? They’ve got the 23rd rank penalty kill and Archibald has been effective there.
A trade wouldn’t be for much — maybe a late-round draft pick — but would allow the Oilers to recoup some kind of asset back. On top of that, it would allow the 28-year-old Archibald to continue his career.
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Zach Laing is the Nation Network’s news director and senior columnist. He can be followed on Twitter at @zjlaing, or reached by email at [email protected]