Moving on from Archibald

With training camp underway, the focus should be on the potential line combinations and defence pairings for the upcoming season, which young prospects will emerge and take on important roles – and really just getting as much information as possible about this roster. And we’re getting plenty of content and storylines to follow and dissect, already within the first couple of days. But it’s pretty hard to ignore the situation with forward Josh Archibald and his reluctance to get vaccinated to spend training camp with his teammates.

Now, Archibald has had plenty of time to get things sorted out and has probably had more than a few discussions with management and the coaching staff to talk about the impacts of his decision to his career and to the team. If he hasn’t straightened things out at this point with training camp already underway, why are the Oilers so hesitant about assigning him to the AHL or even terminating his contract? He’s on the second year of a two-year contract that pays him $1.5 million this upcoming season and is very, very replaceable.

This is clearly a fourth line player averaging about 10-11 minutes per game at even-strength (5v5) and producing 1.18 points per hour over his 235-game career. He’s not a shut-down player, spending the majority of his ice-time against lesser competition. And has in fact been a part of the depth problems the Oilers have been experiencing, specifically when McDavid has been on the bench. In his two seasons with the Oilers, the team has posted a goal differential of -23 (38 GF/61 GA) with Archibald on the ice, a goal-share of 38.4%. Part of the reason for that is the team has poor possession numbers with Archibald on the ice, with the team posting a Corsi For% of 45.5%. And again, this is predominantly against the opponents third and fourth lines and away from elite competition.

Where the coaching staff does have faith in Archibald is on the penalty kill, as he lead the Oilers forwards in total shorthanded ice-time and average ice-time per game in 2020/21 and had the second most minutes the year before. And while the results have been good for the team in terms of preventing goals, with the team allowing about the same rate of goals against with and without Archibald on the ice in the last two seasons, they do a see a significantly higher rate of shots with Archibald deployed. Without him, the Oilers have allowed about 51 shots against per hour, which is just slightly better than league average. With him, that rate of shots against jumps up to 64 per hour, an increase of about 25%. Now part of that has to do with the fact that he’s often played against the other team’s top power play units. But keep in mind, top penalty kill units see an increase of +5.45 shots against per hour relative to the team rate. Archibald’s rate of shots against (+12.27) is double the league average of top penalty kill units, so you really can’t put it all on the level of competition.

Knowing the Oilers might be starting the season without Archibald, the Oilers did bring in 32-year old Colton Sceviour on a professional try-out agreement, who appears to be a pretty seamless replacement for Archibald. He’s played 500 NHL games, has played a similar depth role as Archibald averaging about 10 minutes a game at even-strength and has a slightly better career points-per-hour rate of 1.41.

Sceviour also has plenty of experience on the penalty kill, becoming a regular option during his four seasons in Florida between 2016 and 2020 leading the team in ice time and average ice time per game.

Sceviour posted some pretty solid on-ice penalty kill numbers in Florida for a player who was deployed as often he was. In two of his four seasons, the rate of shots against were lower relative to his team numbers. And a couple times the rate of shots against were higher but reasonably in line with what happens across the league when top penalty killers are on the ice. Sceviour did see his average ice time drop as a new member of the Penguins last season. But the club did quite well at suppressing shots with him on the ice, seeing their rate of shots against drop by 8.87 shots per hour.

With a replacement like Sceviour who can play depth minutes and has experience killing penalties already participating in the Oilers training camp, the Oilers really should move on from Archibald as soon as possible. The club needs to sort out their even-strength line combinations, give players time to develop chemistry and figure out their special teams – especially their penalty kill, which is going to look a lot different than last season.

More importantly, the Oilers need to make a clear statement that the organization understands the gravity of the global pandemic and do not want to risk the health and safety of their staff, their players, the fans and the community. Letting the decision to move on from Archibald linger is a terrible look for Oilers management, the coaching staff and the leadership group among the players, especially since it’s been revealed that one of their own teammates is still dealing with complications from being diagnosed with Covid-19 last year.

This really isn’t a hard decision or a tough stance to take. Organizations around the globe are making vaccines mandatory to protect their businesses and their industry, and the Oilers really have no excuse here trying to accommodate a single player who doesn’t seem to care about the consequences of his actions. It’s a big season coming up with high expectations for the club – and the focus at this point should be on the players who want to be at training camp and want to have a strong season.

Data: Natural Stat TrickPuck IQCap Friendly

12 thoughts on “Moving on from Archibald

  1. Super bias article. Very discriminatory towards a player who has been a solid depth player for the OIL for a few years now. He won’t be so easily replaced by a PTO who’s a fringe NHL player.
    Archibald has been able to play up and down the lineup throughout his tenure and become a fan favourite with his physical play and persistence.
    It’s very evident that you support vaccines and have belittled a solid depth player based one his personal medical choices.
    Shame on you

  2. You are a douche. Archibald is far from selfish. He is taking a stand against something he obviously feels passionate about. So much so, that he is willing to spend a half million dollars to take that stand and potentially lose his career over it.
    You can disagree with his stand, but it is courageous that he is willing to make it. I wish him the best. At a time when he is fighting for his position on the team against the most depth we have had in 20 years he is willing to handicap himself for something he believes in.
    Guaranteed you do not have that same courage or you would be embarrassed that this story was written by you

  3. Good for him to have the balls to take a stand. Unlike so many who willingly support segregation and the communist elite making billions for Big Pharm. It’s NOT a vaccine, it’s a shot. It takes 4-5 years of research to officially become a vaccine. I know 6 people who have died within 24 hours of taking the shot. Why did the Canucks and Canadiens keep getting Covid AFTER taking the shot?? Natural immunity works far better than synthetic. Why does the media support this tyranny? I’m almost done with hockey and the Oilers because of people like you. Keep eating grass and growing your wool. I’m a huge Archibald fan now!



  4. Seriously folks, the reason the western world is still a mess two years in this pandemic is because of selfish people who have crazy right wing opinions like if you have the vaccine the government will inject a chip into you, and so on. Or its my right to infect others where they might possibly die and so on.

    What’s not being talked about is that I don’t see any of these anti vaccers signing a waver if they get the virus then they wont go to the hospital. It seems that every time one of these anti everything people makes the big talk to not get the vaccine, if they get the virus and they get very sick, they expect the same health system to now save them.

    This player has made it very obvious what he thinks about the hard working doctors and nurses doing their best to save as many people as possible.

    Most other NHL teams have death with this quickly, they don’t want these types of people in the room with the other players who have done the right thing and have put others ahead of them selves.

    • I know several Doctors and Nurses that are willing to give up their medical careers because they are unwilling to get the vaccine. They have seen people suffering from the side effects of the vaccine and would far rather get COVID than take the vaccine. We are almost at 80% vaccinated. If the vaccine works you should not worry about whether others are vaccinated or not. People that are vaccinated Cary the same viral load as those that are unvaccinated, which means you are every bit as likely to spread the virus as those that are not vaccinated.



  5. You live in an information bubble and assume anyone who does not want the vaccine is doing it for “insert rediculous theory here” so you can belittle them, dehumanize them and encourage complete destruction of their names and cast them to the lowest fringes of society.

    Give them a passport showing if they are a desirable or not in society. No matter how good or kind of a person.

    All your accomplishments and contributions to society. The biggest dirtbags in society can leapfrog you over hesitancy to get a needle and enjoy freedom and dignity.

    That is how the Nazis treated the Jews. I stand with the unvacinated against Nazi type behaviors.

  6. Good for u Archibald for standing up for ur self I think the other players are not vaccinated at all they are just putting on a show to make people think they are I think they are getting money under the table it’s all a shit show

  7. Turns out he should have gotten the vaccine… Covid caused heart issue may end his career. He sure showed us sheeple….

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