If there's one player who has a chance to emerge from the largely uninspiring collection of forward prospects in the Penguins organization and become an impact player in the NHL, it's winger Josh Archibald.

A sixth-round pick in the 2011 draft, Archibald is turning pro off a breakout junior year at Nebraska-Omaha that included 29 goals in 37 games.

He's slight at 5-foot-11, 176 pounds and only played his first AHL game Wednesday in Wilkes-Barre, but he has intriguing strengths.

One is production. His goal total was the second best in the country this season, trailing only Hobey Baker favorite Johnny Gaudreau of Boston College. In a 10-game stretch through the end of February, Archibald had 14 goals and 20 points.

“You could say I was a little hot at the end of the year, I guess,” Archibald said.

Another is speed. He has the wheels not only create to offense but also to excel on the forecheck.

“He's a real quick skater,” coach John Hynes said. “He's very competitive on the puck. He has the ability to score and make plays.”

The last is snarl. Archibald plays a feisty game that belies his size. In his first full AHL practice, he turned heads by throwing a hip into defenseman Philip Samuelsson during a battle for a puck along the boards. Archibald's father, Jim, was an intimidating forward for the University of North Dakota and as a Minnesota North Stars prospect in the 1980s.