CA Prospect Profiles: Darren Archibald

                           Vancouver Canucks prospect played in parts of three seasons with the Barrie Colts of the Ontario Hockey League. The Canucks signed the left winger to an entry level deal in December.

To say Darren Archibald took an unconventional route to becoming part of an NHL organization would be an understatement.

After going undrafted three times and unsuccessfully attending training camps with two NHL teams Archibald’s quixotic journey to an NHL contract finally ended on December 13, 2010, when the Canucks signed the big forward to an entry-level deal.

Archibald played three seasons of major junior hockey in the Ontario Hockey League, arguably the best junior league in terms of producing NHL ready forwards. In 2008-09, Archibald’s first season with the Barrie Colts, he notched 25 goals and 49 points and earned OHL second all-rookie team honours. His totals improved modestly in his sophomore season with 26 goals and 59 points in just 57 games. He was invited to training camp by the Detroit Red Wings for the 2010-11 season, but failed to impress the Red Wings brass and returned to junior.

Archibald, 21, is coming off his most successful season in the OHL. As an overage player, the Newmarket, ONT product tallied 41 goals and 25 assists in 61 games with the Colts and Niagara IceDogs. The left winger was particularly strong during Niagara’s playoff run in which he scored 10 goals in just 14 games. It should be noted that Archibald moved from the OHL’s worst team, Barrie, to one its best teams in Niagara where he played alongside the likes of 2011 first-round picks Ryan Strome and Dougie Hamilton. His numbers with the IceDogs are impressive, but were surely buoyed in part by the quality of his teammates.

Tipping the scales at 6-foot-3 and 210 pounds, Archibald is a power-forward who has a pretty complete package. At the CHL level Archibald did it all: he scored garbage goals, skill goals, he killed penalties and was used on the power-play, he hit (skaters and goalies alike), he agitated and he fought.

How that will translate at the NHL (or AHL) level remains to be seen, but here are the behindthenet.ca equivalency stats for OHL to NHL production pro-rated over 82 games. If Archibald were to carry on his goal-scoring form of 2010-11, he would be a 16 goal and 26 point player. Not bad for an undrafted player.

Darren Archibald OHL Production and NHL/AHL Equivalancies                    
Year GP G A Pts Eq. AHL G Eq. AHL A Eq. AHL Pts Eq. NHL G Eq. NHL A Eq. NHL Pts
2008-09 68 25 24 49 13.56 13.02 26.58 9 8.68 17.68
2009-10 57 26 33 59 16.83 21.36 38.19 11.22 14.24 25.46
2010-11 61 41 25 66 24.8 15.12 39.92 16.53 10.08 26.61

Canucks director of player of development told the Province’s Jason Botchford that Archibald needs to work on his consistency.

“He’s a really skilled kid with a big, NHL body. Physically he’s ready. But he has to learn to play at the pace and the urgency that pro players play with. In junior, you can get away with lackadaisical days. But not here. He’s going to have to learn to compete at a high level every day.”

I expect him to compete for a fourth-line role at training camp with the likes of Byron Bitz, Mark Mancari, Mike Duco and Aaron Volpatti, but he will more than likely need to prove himself at the AHL level with the Chicago Wolves prior to making the big club.

Regardless of Archibald’s performance at training camp, it’s refreshing to have a power forward in the Canucks’ system alongside the diminutive skill players already in the fold.

Darren attended Canucks development camp in July and blogged about his experiences extensively for Canucks.com.

To keep up with Darren, social media is your best bet. Archibald frequently updates his twitter account. Follow him here.