The acquisition of Viktor Arvidsson elevated the LA Kings out of the rebuild, and the Swedish forward is enjoying a terrific season.
Last year with Nashville, Viktor Arvidsson played in 50 games and had 10 goals and 15 assists for 25 points. In fear of losing him for nothing to Seattle in the expansion draft, the Predators traded him to the LA Kings for two draft picks, a second-rounder in 2021 and a third-rounder in 2022.
Arguably, this move to acquire the 29-year-old forward has become one of Rob Blake’s best moves as GM.
Arvidsson was placed on the first line with Anze Kopitar and Dustin Brown to begin the year, but the trio never found chemistry. The eventual swapping out of Brown for Kempe helped the first line in terms of possession, but they still put up disappointing numbers in terms of offensive production.
Both Kempe and Arvidsson had similar styles of play – skate fast and take the shot as often as possible. Two wingers doing the same job with little output was not the recipe for first-line success. Head Coach Todd McLellan realized another change was needed, and Arvidsson was delegated to the second line.
Since the move, however, he has found a home there. The stabilizing presence of Phillip Danault at center has been a catalyst for Kings’ wingers to find their games, and Arvidsson is no exception.
Since his placement on the second line, his “score-first mentality” has only complemented the play of his teammates, and their chemistry is evident. In fact, the trio of Moore-Danault-Arvidsson has been the Kings’ most productive this season by maintaining possession and scoring dominance. As a result, Arvidsson is having one of the best seasons in his career.
So far this year, Arvidsson has 20 goals and 28 assists in 64 games which is good for fourth on the team in overall scoring. These numbers are impressive considering his injury early in the season, and without the almost three-week absence, he would realistically be approaching 60 points on the year.
He has also been an underrated playmaker, as seen recently in the game against the Chicago Blackhawks.
— Bally Sports West (@BallySportWest) April 22, 2022
A top-six winger who is not afraid to shoot, can facilitate for teammates, and plays aggressively on the forecheck is exactly what the Kings needed to solidify the second line.
This is also the first time since the 2018-19 season that Arvidsson has tallied more than 30 points. He seems to have found his place on the Kings and is making an impact. Along with Danault and Moore, Arvidsson deserves recognition for his contribution to the Kings’ most successful line.
After being acquired this off-season, many doubted whether he had the capabilities to make an impact as a top-six forward. With his skill and style of play, Arvidsson has definitively put those doubts to rest as Rob Blake’s trade continues to exceed everyone’s expectations.
(Main photo credit: Alex Cave / Hockey Royalty)