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Canucks Sign Darren Archibald to AHL Deal

The Canucks are continuing to get business taken care of, and after signing Joseph LaBate earlier today, they’ve re-upped a 2016-17 team MVP. No, not Bo Horvat, who remains without a contract, but Darren Archibald, the 2016-17 MVP of the Utica Comets.

Archibald had a banner year with the Comets last season, leading the team in goals (23), points (47), and primary points (37), while also being the only Comet to play all 76 games. His efforts were rewarded at the end of the season, as he took home the Tom McVie Award as the Coach’s MVP, and the Mohawk Valley Media Player of the Year Award.

He played all over the lineup, from the fourth line to the first, but had his most productive stretch when aligned with Curtis Valk and Alex Grenier (both of whom have since signed NHL contracts with the Florida organization). Put together in early January, the line caught fire, combining for nine goals and 23 points in just a six game span. They were so utterly dominant for a short period that I labeled the whole line the Players of the Week in mid-January Comets update.

Originally signed as a CHL free agent by Mike Gillis in December of 2013, Archibald has spent the last seven and a half seasons as a member of the Canucks organization in some capacity. After his ELC ended, he signed one-year deals for both 2013-14 and 2014-15. In the former of those years, he made his NHL debut for John Tortorella’s Canucks, scoring a goal and adding two assists in 16 games. His 1.46 5-on-5 points per 60 minutes remains the eighth highest among all Canucks with at least 100 cumulative minutes between 2013-14 and 2016-17.

After he wasn’t given a contract following the 2014-15 season, Archibald stuck around and signed with the Canucks ECHL affiliate at the time, the Kalamazoo wings. Just a few weeks into the 2015-16 season, he was given an AHL contract, and has stuck with the Comets ever since.

Archibald is a heart and soul player, and an absolute fan favourite in Utica, beloved for his vibrant personality and thundering body checks (see above). But as the higher video shows, he can be a productive player as well. I’ve often wondered if the Canucks aren’t better off giving Archibald an NHL contract, giving his size and skill set, and the fact that the numbers he put up in limited NHL action a few years ago are better that a lot of the depth options the Canucks are using today. For instance, his 2013-14 NHL Corsi-For percentage of 47.5%, while not overly impressive, ranks ahead of nearly every bottom six player the Canucks have used since then, and a few top six players as well, including Bo Horvat, Brandon Sutter, Markus Granlund, and Sven Baertschi.

The fact that Archibald is at least back playing with the Comets keeps him close, in case the Canucks decide to do what they did with Mike Zalewski in 2015-16 – sign him to an NHL contract mid-season immediately preceding a promotion to the big club. I also wondered is Travis Green’s familiarity with Archibald could be a benefit in this regard.

Given the talent that is likely to flood Utica in the fall (even if it’s not Boeser or Goldobin, it could be Rodin or Burmistrov other solid adds), Archibald is likely to start in Utica’s bottom six. Of course, that’s where he started last year too – and he ended up being the team’s leading scorer and MVP.

  • his Corsi-For percentage of 47.5%, while not overly impressive, ranks ahead of nearly every bottom six player the Canucks have used since then, and a few top six players as well, including Bo Horvat, Brandon Sutter, Markus Granlund, and Sven Baertschi.

    How can you compare statistics accumulated at the pro level with those at the NHL level?

  • Thanks for the details. I wondered what his utility might be with the big club. I like that Travis knows what he has in DA and if needed can probably get much more out of him than Torts did.

    • I’ve seen him play on many occasions. He’s a no-nonsense hard hitting forward that deserves another crack at the NHL. He’ll stand up to anyone and he is a serious offensive factor.

  • I was one of Archibald biggest distractors a few seasons back. It looked like his potential was there but not being best used. Well it strikes me that he has been a late bloomer in the true sense and should be offered a chance in Vcr. However I suspect the delay in signing was due to his agents seeing if there was any interest from other NHL team …. seems not, and so here he is back in the AHL

  • Folks visit this site to enjoy voicing their views and opinions there is simply is no point to trying to intimidate or ridicule other it just shuts down debates and opinions. You have to ask why you have a need to do this

  • Oooh did I hurt someone’s itty bitty feelings?
    It’s ironic you would accuse me of being a knuckle dragger and then tell me I deserve a shot to the head. Who’s the knuckle dragger?
    If you have something to say to me why not formulate a proper critique of my position or opinion?

  • Now I am a foul mouthed troll and a knuckle dragger. Hmm…coming from someone who endorsed violence and used foul language on his previous post.
    Sounds hypocritical to me.

  • Now that you’ve taken out the trash, you can delete this comment as well. Doesn’t look very good out of context. Probably didn’t look that great in context either.