Josh Archibald Looking To Translate Collegiate Success To The Pros

Thursday, August 21, 2014
Archibald ready to learn the pro game. Photo credit: @ItsJacki
Editor's Note: This is the 5th installment in Highland Park Hockey's "Summer Feature Series" - an inside look at some of the new potential faces on the 2014-15 Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins and other prospects in the Penguins organization. I have linked the first four articles below.
Conor Sheary Aims to Make an Impression
Harrison Ruopp Fighting for an AHL Role
Matt Murray Looks to Make the Most of His Rookie Season
Clark Seymour Takes a Step in the Right Direction
“It was a pretty crazy season,” Pittsburgh Penguins forward prospect Josh Archibald said of his junior season last year at the University of Nebraska-Omaha (UNO) and the happenings shortly after his third season of college hockey.

"We did pretty well as a team. We ended up 3rd in the NCHC," Archibald said adding, "Personally, I did some pretty great things but for me it couldn’t have been possible without my teammates and my linemates. I played with two really good linemates. We had some great chemistry and that was the main thing for us. We got open, we found each other. We made plays. It was a pretty special season.”

Archibald was on UNO's top line on the right wing, centered by freshman Jake Guentzel - the Penguins third round pick in 2013.

Together they combined for a big part of UNO's success. Archibald led the team with 29 goals, while the freshman Guentzel was tied for the team lead with 17 assists while also being one point shy for the school's record for most points as a freshman.

The way Guentzel played, he didn't look much like a freshman at all in terms of his understanding of the game. Some of the credit goes to Archibald, who both told the media that Archibald took Guentzel under his wing last season.

“That’s what all of us older guys try to do. Grab a younger guy, take them under your wing and show them a good time,” Archibald said. “[Guentzel] is a different cat . He knows almost more about hockey than I do. It’s good, we learned from each other. He taught me things, I taught him things. It was a great learning experience for both of us.”
The Penguins sixth round pick in 2011 had nothing short of a spectacular year of hockey. Something Penguins fans will like about Archibald is his answer to Ian Altenbaugh's question about where the majority of his goals in college came from.

“Probably right in front of the net,” Archibald said. “Back-door plays or taking the puck, driving wide and beating the goalie. It’s mostly just those dirty goals. Rebounds in front of the net and back-door plays.” 

After recording a 29-goal season and being a finalist for the Hobey Baker Award, Archibald joined the AHL's Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins on an amateur tryout contract on March 22nd, 2014. Archibald quickly got his feet wet in his first pro game - a 2-1 loss to the Providence Bruins on March 26th - with four shots on goal, spending most of the night on the 2nd line with Nick Drazenovic and Tom Kostopoulos. Not bad for an AHL debut.

It didn't take long for Archibald to get on the score sheet. In fact, two nights later in Norfolk was all it took for Archibald to tally his first pro goal and against a pretty good goaltender in Pittsburgh-native John Gibson. Archibald got open early in the first period and Dominik Uher found him between the face-off circles before he beat Gibson with a quick release for the game's first goal.

Archibald appeared in seven games for the AHL Penguins before the 2014 Calder Cup Playoffs. After being a healthy scratch through the Pens' first seven games of the playoffs, Archibald made his playoff debut in Game Five of the Eastern Conference Semifinals against the Providence Bruins. Archibald tallied a first period power play goal - a rebound of a Brian Dumoulin point shot - to give the Pens a big 2-1 lead after trailing the game 1-0.

It's not hard to see that Archibald is capable of scoring goals at the AHL level and will continue to adjust to the pro-game in the 2013-14 season with the WBS Penguins, having signed a three-year entry level contract with Pittsburgh over the summer.

He came into development camp more focused now that he knows he is turning pro in the fall and will be attending his first rookie tournament next month in London, Ontario. Archibald told media at the Penguins annual development camp that while he's always training to get bigger, stronger and faster that the mental aspect of professional hockey is important and something he will focus on this summer and heading into his first full season of pro hockey.

“If you have one bad day, you cant take it out on yourself and have a bad week you have to turn it around and get back up the next day,” Archibald said. “This is a learning experience and that’s what I’m trying to do. Learn as much as I can here with the new coaching staff and management."


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