Put together over 30 games ago by Todd McLellan, Trevor Moore, Phillip Danault and Viktor Arvidsson have led the way for the LA Kings.
Call them whatever you’d like: the “MAD” line or the “Nice” line, the LA Kings trio of Trevor Moore, Phillip Danault, and Viktor Arvidsson has been one of the best lines in hockey since they were put together.
Yes, it’s true. They’ve legitimately been one of the best lines in hockey. They are a top-five line at CF% at 5-on-5 (per MoneyPuck):
If you prefer expected goals, they’re a top-ten line in xGF%:
After over 300 minutes together, they’re the real deal.
So what is it that makes them so dangerous together?
For starters, the line has been a dual-threat, making it very difficult for opponents to defend. Whether on a forecheck and cycle or off the rush, all three have been very dangerous (data via AllThreeZones):
You see Danault is among the best in the league at creating offense on the forecheck/cycle, while Arvidsson is, quite literally, the best player at creating chances off the rush in the NHL.
The line possesses one of the most shot-happy players in the entire league in Arvidsson:
No one takes more shots per 60 minutes than Arvidsson and as you look to the right of that chart, very few create more primary shot assists per 60 minutes than Danault. They’re really a match made in heaven.
And that is no slight to Moore. He is quietly right in that dual-threat quadrant as well. He’s also a very good passer in his own right, and, like the other two, very strong in transition. Moore is among the league’s best in possession-exits out of his zone, which can be crucial to creating offense. Particularly when you have such a rush threat like Arvidsson.
When you have a pure shooter like Arvidsson, it’s important to get him looks in high-danger scoring areas. Wouldn’t you know it, his two linemates do just that:
Here’s another look at the line’s dominance in high-danger chances created (per Natural Stat Trick):
|Trevor Moore||Phillip Danault||Viktor Arvidsson||115||80||58.97|
As you’ve probably gleaned from the AllThreeZones charts above, there really isn’t a trio that the Kings throw out there that has the ability to beat you on a forecheck and cycle as well as off the rush, and do them both effectively.
A great example of this dual-threat came on one play in Calgary last Thursday. I’ll highlight Arvidsson’s game-tying goal. Moore enters the zone with possession and is an immediate threat off the rush. While his first pass attempt doesn’t connect, he immediately goes to pressure the loose puck. He gets help from his defenseman, Olli Maatta who plays the puck down low to a waiting Danault. Arvidsson realizes this and moves to the front of the net, in position to put home the all-important goal:
It was a perfect example of their speed and threat on the rush, but also not just the work, but the smart plays off the puck. That goal does not happen if Danault doesn’t recognize the high-cycle coming down from Maatta after the hard forecheck of Moore. And Arvidsson is aware enough to move to the slot for an outlet.
This next example is a goal that Danault scored off a lost faceoff. Despite losing the draw, his wingers immediately jump in on the forecheck. I’ll take this moment to add a note that we so often talk about centers being good or bad on draws, it cannot be understated the importance of your wingers when it comes to puck retrieval. Moore and Arvidsson show this here.
Arvidsson first puts pressure on his man, and Moore is immediately in John Klingberg‘s pocket to strip him of the puck. The LA Kings can then immediately shift to offense, and the strike is quick:
Their ability to create high-danger chances on the rush or off a forecheck makes them one of the most well-rounded lines in the NHL. Put another feather in Todd McLellan‘s Jack Adams cap for this one.
After 33 games together, this line has been MAD NICE.
I’ll show myself out.