We continue our look back at the LA Kings second line today with a review of Viktor Arvidsson’s 2021-22 season.
Arvidsson was one of three veteran acquisitions in the offseason along with Phillip Danault, who became his primary center, and defenseman Alex Edler. All three players were a part of the resurgent Kings team that moved from a team well outside of a playoff berth into third place in the division, adding proven, veteran talent into the mix. All three players contributed, with Arvidsson solidifying a previously vacant top-six forward position.
NHL Statline – 66 games played, 20 goals, 29 assists, +1 rating, 22 penalty minutes
NHL Playoff Statline – N/A
Possession Metrics (Relative To Kings) – CF% – 56.4% (+2.3%), SCF – 57.7% (+4.0%), HDCF – 57.0% (+3.7%)
When the Kings acquired Arvidsson over the summer, I think there was perhaps a misconception on the player joining the organization. The expectation was a flashy, off-the-rush scorer who played that brand of hockey. While he did provide that – Arvidsson ranked third in the league in rush attempts per/60 – the package the Kings actually got was perhaps better than advertised. A cerebral player in the offensive zone with a great shot, great instincts and an ability to pass an ability to fit right into the way the Kings wanted to forecheck. Arvidsson proved to be exactly the fit the Kings needed on the right side, and he played the part to perfection.
Trending Up – Looking first at raw production, Arvidsson scored 20 goals this season and would have reached 50 points, or perhaps more, had it not been for injuries and protocols which cost him 16 games this season. Arvidsson had three 20-goal seasons and two 30-goal seasons heading into his trade to the Kings, and posted his fourth 20-goal campaign in 2021-22. Though talked about as a goalscorer first, Arvidsson proved to be an effective and dangerous playmaker as well this season. Arvidsson posted career highs in both assists and primary assists on a per/60 basis.
Arvidsson was also one of the best offensive puck possession forwards not only on the Kings, but around the NHL. In terms of on-ice metrics at even strength, Arvidsson led the Kings in shot attempts for and scoring chances for on a per/60 basis and was second in high-danger chances for, trailing only Danault. Arvidsson ranked in the top ten around the NHL in both shot attempts and scoring chances and was tied for 11th in high-danger chances. On an individual basis, Arvidsson led the league in individual shot attempts per/60 and ranked second in individual scoring chances per/60. On a team that emphasized volume shooting, Arvidsson was perhaps the best representation of that strategy and philosophy.
Being an offseason acquisition, the only veteran player that the Kings acquired via trade, Arvidsson being a successful fit was important for the Kings. Though it did take a bit of time to come, Arvidsson became exactly what the Kings spent two draft picks to acquire – a top-six forward. While his first half of the season produced varying results, his second half was lights out. Overall, Arvidsson had 14 of his 20 goals, and 35 of his 49 points, in the second half of the season, after uniting with Danault and Moore, which equates to 28 goals and 68 points over the course of 82 games.
Trending Down – Arvidsson had the highest goals against per/60 of any regular forward on the Kings roster this season at 2.82. That number is higher than the “expected goals” metrics says it should be, with Arvidsson ranking below several forwards there. The team’s save percentage with Arvidsson on the ice was also the lowest amongst all regular Kings forwards, resulting in a PDO that ranked second lowest in Arvidsson’s career. The numbers are the numbers, presented as such, take them for what you will. The goals scored outweighed the goals conceded, so the high allowed metric is just one to at least point out.
It’s not necessarily fair to call this a trending down in terms of Arvidsson’s personal play, but his season-ending injury is one with a timetable that you need to see how it plays out next season, exactly when he will be fully available and does it impact him at all at the start. Arvidsson’s presence was sorely missed in the postseason, with the Kings playing without one of their most consistent offensive threats in a seven-game series in which Arvidsson could have made a difference.
Of Note – This is a full line perspective, shared in Moore’s article earlier this week, but the trio was one of the best puck possession lines in the league. Among lines with at least 350 minutes together this season, that line ranked third in the NHL in CF%. In terms of shots for on a per/60 basis, they ranked second in the league in attempts for, something that led to the fourth-highest expected goals percentage.
2022-23 Status – Arvidsson has two seasons remaining on what was originally a seven-year contract extension, signed with the Nashville Predators back in July 2017. Arvidsson carries a cap hit of $4,250,000 next season.
Arvidsson’s status for next season is dictated mostly by injury. Assuming full health, the expectation will be that he slots into his familiar home on the second line, along with Trevor Moore and Phillip Danault. Arvidsson’s season-ending herniated disc complicates that matter a bit. Arvidsson had surgery back in May, with an expected recovery time at 3-5 months. The expectation Rob Blake provided is that Arvidsson would be available during training camp, though that wide of a range makes things a bit more of an unknown.
Arvidsson’s season in review brings us 2/3 of the way through the second line, with Phillip Danault to follow on Friday!