Who is this guy?
Josh Archibald is a 5'10" 181lbs Right Wing from Regina, Saskatchewan who was drafted by the Pittsburgh Penguins in the 6th round of the 2011 NHL Draft.
What are they saying about him?
Back when Archibald was drafted, Assistant Director of Amateur Scouting Dan Sexton said his strengths were "Very good speed, physical, aggressive." These days he is still touted for his speed, but the physical aggressive nature has translated into his having an extremely strong work ethic. He has good offensive skills and can put up points, but it is his energy and drive, his willingness to fight through traffic and win the dirty battle in the corners and along the boards, that really speaks to what the Penguins like about him.
Over the past few years he has also taken on more responsibility with his team and is also making a name for himself due to his leadership qualities. Thies year he was named a Junior Captain and asked the Pens organization and received permission to skip Prospect Development Camp in order to help the incoming Freshman players transition into college life.
Where has he been?
Archibald came up through the US High School hockey system playing for Brainerd High in Minnesota. From there he moved on to play for the University of Nebraska-Omaha where he played with fellow Penguins prospect Jayson Megna in 2011-12 and former Camp Invitee Andrej Sustr for the past 2 seasons, as well as Megna's younger brother Jaycob Megna who has been with him for two seasons and will return once more next year. He also joined Team USA for the World Junior U20 in 2011-12. Last season he was #2 on his team in both Goals and Points. This year he has been named a Junior Captain and will help mold the new young players, including Penguins 2013 Draft Pick Jake Guentzel.
When can we expect to see him?
Archibald still has another 2 years of college left, and he remains unsigned so he has to impress the team enough in the next two seasons for them to even consider signing him. If he does get signed after he graduates from college, we can expect him to spend some time in the minors, possibly a year in Wheeling but at least a year or two in WBS. If we ever see him in the NHL it will be quite a few years down the road.
Why is he #17?
Archibald received 1 vote for 9th, 1 vote for 10th, 1 vote for 12th, 1 vote for 13th, 1 vote for 16th, 1 vote for 17th, 1 vote for 19th, 1 vote for 21st, and 1 vote for 24th.
How can he climb the list?
The type of player Archibald is he has a strong possibility to end up as a 4th line energy guy like Joe Vitale or Craig Adams, or possibly a depth winger with Top 6 aspirations like Tyler Kennedy. So one thing he needs to do if he expects to climb the list is to drastically improve his offensive output. His numbers aren't bad, they are even amongst the best on his team, but he doesn't put up points the way one would expect from a Top 6 forward, so if he doesn't improve at the NCAA level what hope do we have of him scoring in the pros?
Of course like most college prospects just continuing to grow and flesh out their form helps improve their chances. He is only 20, so there is still a chance the slightly undersized forward can develop into somebody who is strong enough to compete with powerful NHL defenders. He seems to be fairly capable in his own end, and his compete level and leadership ability is through the roof, so in the end his chances of moving up the list relies mostly on attrition. If he can outlast the players ahead of him on the depth chart he will eventually break into the NHL and we can see from there whether or not has any chance of being more than a depth role player.