The NHL trade market has been slow to this point, with many teams wary of making big moves that could upset their plans ahead of the Expansion Draft later this month. However, a move was made today as Nashville announced that they have dealt scoring winger Viktor Arvidsson to Los Angeles. The Predators will receive L.A.’s 2021 second-round pick, No. 40 overall, and a 2022 third-round pick. Though the deal may lack excitement with none of the Kings’ high profile prospects going the other way, it is a solid return for Nashville, who need to restock their system. According to The Athletic’s draft pick value chart, the Kings’ second-rounder this year plus a presumptive top-half third-rounder next year is equivalent to a late first-round pick.
Arvidsson, 28, has cracked 30 goals and 60 points twice in his six-year NHL career, showing dangerous scoring ability. Even as his numbers have tailed off the past two seasons, he has maintained a half-point per-game scoring mark in all five of his full NHL seasons. It is also worth noting that his 6.6% shooting percentage this season was an extreme deviation from his career average. Positive regression likely means that more goals are on the way. Arvidsson is more than just his scoring totals, too. The undersized, but hard-working wing plays big minutes, contributes to both the power play and penalty kill, and is an excellent possession player.
With all that said, Nashville was not wrong to be shopping Arvidsson. At times this past season, he seemed too passive and uninvolved. While he has still put up solid top-six numbers, the Predators have been relying on him as a top-line scorer and he has fallen short. It seems that both sides will benefit from this change of scenery. Nashville will certainly benefit from the expansion flexibility, cap space, and draft pick capital as they look to get back into Stanley Cup contender status after some up-and-down years.
As for the Kings, this is exactly what GM Rob Blake and company have promised their veteran core. The team plans to add established talent this year to help take their young team to the next level and to give their long-time centerpieces another chance to win. In a new place with and with a fresh group of teammates, Arvidsson could easily return to elite production. They had draft picks they could afford to move, the Expansion Draft slot to spare, and a desire to win and now they have a capable veteran in the fold as they look to get back into playoff contention.
Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman was the first to report that the Kings were acquiring Arvidsson.