Player: Josh Archibald
Born: October 6, 1992 (age-30 season)
Weight: 176 pounds
Hometown: Regina, Saskatchewan
Draft: 174th overall (sixth round in 2011 by the Pittsburgh Penguins)
2022-23 Statistics: 62 games, six goals, six assists, 12 total points, plus-six, 43 penalty minutes.
Contract Status: Unless he is re-signed before July 1, Archibald is heading back into the free agency pool, having only signed a one-year contract (worth $900k) with Pittsburgh last summer.
Fun facts: Despite missing 20 games due to various injuries and playing limited minutes, Archibald finished second for the Penguins in hits with 195 (Jason Zucker, 197). Archibald’s 18.9 hits/60 were nearly twice his closest teammate...Whatever one thinks about plus/minus, Archibald’s +6 ranked third on the team (Sidney Crosby, PO Joseph +8)...Archibald drew 18 minor penalties, ranking out to the most penalties drawn/time played on the team.
After a slow start in the season’s opening month of October, Archibald popped in November with his most productive month of the 2022-23 season. The highlight of the year for Archibald was probably the November 25th game against Philadelphia where he scored in the first period to give the Pens a 1-0 lead and then tacked on an assist later for what would be his only multi-point game of the campaign.
Unfortunately at this point of the season for a small player who is involved in so many collisions, the injury bug became a major factor. After going scoreless in 10 straight games, December 18th would be Archibald’s last game for a while- he would be out of the lineup until February 7th with an undisclosed lower body injury.
Upon returning, it was business as usual for Archibald: hard minutes, bringing energy and showing willingness to throw his body around. A lot of the goal production dried up after November, but he still found a way to chip in with the odd point here and there from his fourth line position.
Story of the Season
When former GM Ron Hextall met with the media on the NHL’s opening free agency day, there were reports that the Penguins were trying to sign forward Johan Larsson. Hextall seemed taken aback by that knowledge and instead hastily announced that Josh Archibald would be a Penguin. (Larsson went unsigned by NHL teams and returned home to his native Sweden).
Thus began the second stint of Archibald in Pittsburgh, returning to the team that drafted him over a decade ago. Archibald had to leave the Pens via trade in 2017 to carve out his niche as a full-fledged NHL caliber player in other organizations, first in Arizona (2017-19) and then in Edmonton (2019-22).
Archibald in some senses was the spiritual successor to Brandon Tanev. While not as prolific offensively as Tanev has become, he was still counted on to play a relentless game of pursuing pucks on the forecheck and having to launch his diminutive frame into opponents. Over and over again. Archibald approached the workman-like role with a great ethic and always held up his end of the bargain. Archibald also picked up a regular penalty killing shift, logging an average of 1:43 per game short-handed, adding to the team doing some of the “grunt work” if you will.
Regular season 5v5 advanced stats
Data via Natural Stat Trick. The ranking is out of 15 forwards on the team who qualified by playing a minimum of 150 minutes.
Corsi For%: 50.2 (10th)
Goals For%: 56.8 (2nd)
xGF%: 57.2 (2nd)
Scoring Chance %: 50.0 (10th)
High Danger Scoring Chance%: 60.2 (1st)
5v5 on-ice shooting%: 8.3 (4th)
On-ice save%: .933 (1st)
Goals/60: 0.59 (10th)
Assist/60: 0.71 (13th)
Points/60: 1.31 (10th)
—It was a fairly charmed season for Archibald, playing against weaker competition but he acquitted himself well. The team finished while he was on the ice, and the goalies make saves. As we’ll see in the charts below, Archibald had a hand in that.
Archibald’s shooting really popped early on in his stints in Arizona and Edmonton, but not so much in Pittsburgh. Already in his 30’s, this isn’t a player with a ton of natural scoring talent, and the hands he has to offer in the future is a big question mark.
Archibald played with every forward in the bottom-six at varying points of the season, and still was able to drive excellent defensive numbers. That’s a bit of an eyebrow raiser and a credit to how his game meshes with other NHL players by being able to perform well with just about anybody. Not many in the Pens’ bottom-six this year can say the same.
There’s a very big sample size alert (due to missing 20 games, and low TOI in general in those he played) and also a warning about competition, but Archibald did well for defensive impacts and drawing penalties, while chipping in a little offense of his own. Not terrible for a fourth liner here.
That lower left chart for defensive results stands out at only 1.99 xGA/60 with Archibald on the ice. The goalies rewarded him with a high save percentage, but it’s easier for them to keep the puck out of the net when they are getting suppression like this from key areas.
The most subtle deflection can yield the biggest results.— Pittsburgh Penguins (@penguins) March 10, 2023
Good work out there, Josh Archibald! pic.twitter.com/RJTjg2p3TC
GENO BEAST MODE!— Pittsburgh Penguins (@penguins) February 27, 2023
Out of the box and on the board! pic.twitter.com/KocujSsA6F
The Pens endured a rough year, but it wasn’t much because of Archibald not making an impact. The speedy winger played hard, helped out defensively, drew penalties and had a positive contribution. However, it also was a limited one due to missing 20 games after fighting through various injuries, and was only trusted to play in a small role when he was in the lineup. He also faded after the injury, drawing only four penalties after returning, compared to 14 earlier in the season.
Question to ponder
Should the Pens bring Archbald back? A new regime likely means a new batch of players in fourth line roles. He had a pretty good year, but isn’t exactly young, or skilled, or big, or durable. Do you thank him for service and move onto a different option for next year? Or did he do enough to merit bringing back for next season?
How would you grade Josh Archibald’s 2022-23 season?
This poll is closed