Each day in the lead-up to the NHL Draft on June 25-26 in Los Angeles, Yahoo! Sports will feature one of the Central Scouting Bureau’s Top 100 North American prospects from the Canadian Hockey League.
Brandon Archibald got on the NHL's radar with a breakout season with the Ontario Hockey League's Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds.
Archibald, a native of Port Huron, Mich., was the regular defence partner of OHL defenceman of the year Jake Muzzin in the Soo, as the tight-checking Greyhounds become the Western Conference's turnaround team, pulling off a 35-point improvement and finishing fifth after a dead-last finish in 2008-09. Sault Ste. Marie did not have a player among the OHL's top 30 scorers, but allowed just 209 goals, thanks to a back end that along with Archibald, NHL Central Scouting's 64th-ranked North American skater, also included Brock Beukeboom, rated 41st.
The 6-foot-3, 200-pound Archibald, who played in the well-regarded Detroit Honeybaked midget program, calls himself a "safety-type player" who won't make many mistakes with the puck. He had 33 points (five goals, 28 assists) while playing in all 68 regular-season games for the Greyhounds also showed a willingness to stick up for his teammates.
1. How would you say your past season progressed, from start to finish?
"We had a great year in the Soo, especially after my first year, finishing in last place. We had a goal to make the playoffs and we finished fifth in our conference, so obviously it was huge. I played with [Los Angeles Kings prospect] Jake Muzzin on our top defensive pairing. He helped me out quite a bit, playing on our top pairing, shutting down other team's top lines.
2. In your mind, what would scouts say you have to work on between now and when you'll be on the cusp of turning pro?
"Being a bigger guy, this summer will be all about focusing on foot speed. Over the next two years, I really have to work on my strength, put on some more pounds of muscle and just be ready when I get there, to the professional level."
3. Whom in the NHL do you look at and say, 'That's someone I need to be playing like?'
"Rob Blake and Douglas Murray from San Jose. They're both shutdown guys with great [active] sticks and are tough in front of the net. They are each tough to play against, which is something I need to work on, along with adding a level of physicality to my game. But that's something I'll work on next year."
4. Who do you consider your biggest hockey influence?
"My parents [Rob and Sherry]. We never really had someone in my family who played high-level hockey. Growing up in Detroit, we watched a lot of the Red Wings and they got me started in the game, helped push me along. They're big influences and got me where I am today."
5. What was the most surprising question you were asked when you interviewed with teams at the NHL Scouting Combine?
"One was, 'If 100 terrorists were attacking your town and I gave you a M-16 [rifle], six magazines and two grenades and told you stand at a corner and not get overrun, what would you do?' That type of stuff. Things like, 'If a country attacked your town and you had to leave someone behind, what would you do?' I said myself, I said I'd stay."