Name: Brandon Archibald
Weight: 205 lbs.
09-10 team: Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds
09-10 stats: 68 games, 5 goals, 28 assists, 33 points
Port Huron, Michigan born defenseman Brandon Archibald grew up playing in the Detroit Honeybaked AAA organization, and at age 15, was considered one of the top defensive prospects in the country among a deep class. After a difficult season where he played up an age group in Midget Major hockey, Archibald was drafted by the Soo Greyhounds of the OHL. The Greyhounds weren't a strong team, which afforded Archibald the opportunity to get a lot of ice time and experience. In his second season in the OHL, Archibald developed into a top pairing defenseman that logged a good deal of ice time and became a very solid NHL prospect.
Archibald is a big, mobile defender that can do a little bit of everything, but tends to focus a little more on the defensive side of the game. He's got a big frame, but needs to gain more strength and get better at using that size effectively. He put up points last year, thanks to ample ice time, but likely doesn't project to be a big scorer at the next level.
Strengths: Mobility, Hockey sense
Needs to Improve: Physical play, Strength
Links of Interest:
Greyhounds Announce Signing of Archibald-Soo Today-June 2008
Beukeboom, Archibald Complement Each Other-NHL.com-February 2010
Three Guys You Should Know-Bruins Draft Watch-February 2010
Campbell, Archibald Preparing for NHL Draft-Port Huron Times-Herald-May 2010
Interview with Brandon Archibald-Buzzing the Net-June 2010
August 5, 2007: "2. Brandon Archibald-Not a complete package yet, but all the tools are there"
"Brandon Archibald: Big defenseman that is a great skater and passer. His team struggled all week, and he didn't play a great game on Tuesday, but he has a ton of potential. Looked like one of the top prospects for the future."
December 12, 2007: "Detroit Honeybaked defenseman Brandon Archibald visited Notre Dame two weeks ago, to see the Irish play Nebraska-Omaha. Other schools that have expressed interest are Wisconsin, Miami, and Michigan State."
June 12, 2008: "Archibald visited some colleges this past year and definitely would have gotten an NCAA scholarship eventually, but it's hard to fault him for taking what I'm sure was a pretty offer from the Soo."
Archibald might be a bit of a sleeper. On one hand, he didn't get as much hype and attention playing in the OHL's version of Siberia, but on the other, the fact that they struggle to draw top players helped him get a ton of ice time over the past two years.
Archibald definitely has all the tools to become a solid NHL player, but the risk of whether or not he'll be able to put it all together will likely drop him to the second or third round of the draft. Of course, two summers ago, Archibald was in a similar position as a player with a lot of upside that a number of NCAA teams decided was just too risky to take at an early age, and now, he's developed into a player that any NCAA team would love to have. So there's reason to believe he'll keep developing on the same upward arc.
As far as NHL potential, it's tough to project him as much more than a second or third pairing defenseman, since he's not likely to put up much offense. That said, with his size and mobility, he could fill a need as a team's number two defenseman and specialize as a shutdown defensive defenseman.