Contemplating all of the hemming and hawing about whether or not or to not rebuild after they have been sitting outdoors of the playoff image, and all of the disappointing performances they’ve acquired from their large signings, buying and selling Viktor Arvidsson was a shock transfer from the Predators.
On Thursday, the Preds despatched the Swedish winger to the Kings for the fortieth general decide in 2021 and a third-round decide in 2022.
Over the previous three seasons, Arvidsson was simply certainly one of 5 Predators to attain over 100 factors and ranked first in even-strength targets with 48. He had crafted a status for being a high-volume taking pictures winger with the uncommon right-hand shot who may play both aspect and, in response to Pure Stat Trick, had generated superb puck possession numbers with a 5v5 CF% above 50 % in every of his six full seasons within the league.
Arvidsson, by most accounts, was certainly one of their most constant producers on and buying and selling him is an indication that the Preds are shaking issues up with probably extra strikes to return. For years, they have been the fashions of consistency, having missed the playoffs simply 3 times of their previous 16 seasons, however a fourth straight early exit within the playoffs following their first-ever Stanley Cup Finals look in 2017 definitely warrants a whole lot of self-reflection and adjustments.
Transferring Arvidsson’s $4.25-million cap hit will give the Preds extra flexibility going ahead as they proceed to be hampered by Ryan Johansen and Matt Duchene’s burdensome contracts, opening up near $23 million in cap house with a present roster of 14, in response to CapFriendly.
Arvidsson’s capacity to generate photographs shall be missed, however it’s going to additionally present a chance for youthful gamers on cheaper contracts similar to Luke Kunin or Eeli Tolvanen to maneuver into a much bigger position on offense.
Making the commerce additionally means Preds’ projected protected record for the Seattle growth draft additionally turns into clearer. Within the Vegas growth draft, they have been certainly one of seven groups that elected to guard greater than three defensemen, and buying and selling Arvidsson definitely provides extra credence to the concept could go that route once more.
Matt Larkin’s 8-1 projected protected list with 5 defensemen turns into nearer to changing into actuality, and the hope is that the Kraken may present some reduction by taking both Johansen or Duchene’s contract off the Preds’ books.
That also means certainly one of Luke Kunin, Colton Sissons and Calle Jarnkrok shall be out there to the Kraken, however there’s all the time an opportunity all three stay the place they’re ought to the Preds make one other transfer with three picks within the first two rounds of this yr’s draft; the Islanders traded a first-round decide to Vegas within the earlier draft to make sure they picked goaltender Jean-Francois Berube whereas exposing high quality forwards in Ryan Strome, Brock Nelson and Josh Bailey.
The Kings, in the meantime, are quickly progressing into the following section of their re-build. Drew Doughty instructed The Athletic’s Lisa Dillman that the Kings wanted to “bring guys in,” and Arvidsson is a participant who can assist immediately.
The Kings’ top-six is fairly fluid in the meanwhile, rumored to be within the combine for Jack Eichel and probably bringing in a slew of younger gamers, however the obvious place for Arvidsson to begin is on Anze Kopitar’s wing.
Arvidsson is a right-hand shot comfy enjoying the left aspect, but it surely additionally means Kopitar could have two right-hand photographs on his line with Dustin Brown. That could be troublesome for Kopitar to make performs to both wing; final season, it was largely Alex Iafallo and Adrian Kempe on their line, each of whom have been left-hand photographs.
Brown may transfer down the lineup if Iafallo or Kempe stays and Arvidsson performs the precise wing, however the Kopitar-Brown partnership has confirmed to be very efficient previously. Regardless, it’ll give the Kings a whole lot of choices to configure their top-six nevertheless they need relying on what sort of sport they need to play.
It bears mentioning that Arvidsson’s manufacturing has dipped in current seasons, maybe additionally as a result of he has had bother staying wholesome, no due to a crosscheck from Robert Bortuzzo that compelled him to overlook weeks. Arvidsson’s performed greater than 70 video games simply twice in his profession and missed 42 over the previous three seasons and his purpose totals have dipped from 34 to fifteen to 10, and in addition went with no purpose in two of his previous three playoff runs.
Maybe a change of surroundings – and a few added motivation to show his former employers mistaken – will invigorate the 28-year-old, who has 30-goal potential and will nonetheless be very a lot in his prime. The Kings have been one of many worst offensive groups within the league final season, rating twenty seventh with simply 2.54 GF/GP.
From a fantasy standpoint, the brand new surroundings offers Arvidsson an enormous increase. Kopitar could be essentially the most proficient heart he’s ever performed with, and maybe being the go-to shooter on his line as a substitute of splitting duties with Forsberg will improve his offensive manufacturing.
For the Preds, it maybe opens the door for Tolvanen, a highly-touted Finnish purpose scorer who continues to be acclimating himself within the NHL, to grow to be a fixture within the prime six.