The league’s Department of Player Safety has been awfully busy this season, and have more work to do today. Arizona Coyotes forward Josh Archibald will have a hearing about his illegal check to the head last night of Nashville Predators forward Ryan Hartman. Archibald was penalized on the play, in which it appeared as though he hit Hartman’s head directly.
The two-minute penalty that Archibald received was actually his first of the season, and though he’s not a player that shies away from contact he certainly isn’t a headhunter either. The 5’10” 176-lbs winger is just fighting to stay in the league after he was traded to Arizona last season and was given his first opportunity to suit up on a regular basis. In nine games this season he has zero points, and has posted very poor possession numbers.
That makes any suspension easier to take for the Coyotes, but tough for a player who has a tenuous grasp on the NHL. The 26-year old is in the second season of a two-year contract that carries a cap hit of $700K, and will be looking for a qualifying offer this summer as he becomes a restricted free agent for the final time—that is, if he gets into another 18 games and becomes ineligible for Group VI unrestricted free agency.