Before the official trade paperwork had even been filed with the NHL office earlier today, we were already flooded with social media replies — Where will Viktor Arvidsson fit into the Kings lineup next season?
SETTING UP THE TRADE
Outside of most of Florida and perhaps parts of Eastern Canada, a large portion of hockey fans have turned the page on 2021, preferring to jump into the Silly Season like your uncle doing a cannonball at a childhood pool party.
The web is filled with a constant string of players ‘linked’ (and I use that term very loosely) to Los Angeles. As noted in a number of different interviews — and I’ll be back on NHL Radio tomorrow for another edition of Mayor’s Minutes, shameless plug — the Kings will continue to be mentioned alongside nearly every player that might possibly be available this summer because LA is an easy target. It’s almost too easy, maybe even a little lazy. They have a ton of cap space, very few untouchables on their NHL roster, and a prospect pipeline that’s overflowing. Essentially, the Kings have a treasure chest of options, making any potential deal a possibility.
The keys are want and need. While others around North America can argue this player and that player would be great for LA — and, no, Jack Eichel to the Kings still isn’t a thing — unless it’s what management wants to do, those are just conversations filled with daydreams.
For those actually paying attention, the roadmap has been presented here. Sure, this was drawn out in pencil because the hockey landscape is ever-evolving and new information comes in daily. Even so, the Kings Summer Shopping List had them in the hunt for two forwards in the more immediate term and a defenseman (when the right one becomes available) sometime over the next 12 months.
WHY VIKTOR ARVIDSSON? AND WHY NOW?
While today’s move came a little earlier than expected, it did accomplish a need that’s been well-documented and communicated – getting LA some experienced help at forward.
In checking the first item on LA’s Summer To Do List, they acquired a player who can fill a variety of top-six roles, a sniper on the power play, somebody who can clean up rebounds, and is good at killing penalties.
It might not have been the sexy pick some on social media clamor for, yet they added a player who should replace Tyler Toffoli’s previous role on the roster, a hole that was apparent throughout the recent 56-game season.
This was also a move somewhat reminiscent of the Justin Williams trade in March 2009.
Back then, the Kings were just starting to emerge from the building phase and were about to turn the corner into becoming a playoff team. Needing some legit NHL talent for their roster, they picked up a guy who was a previous 30-goal scorer and was coming off a pair of injury shortened seasons. That deal turned out OK and this one just might too.
(BTW – many fans disliked the Williams trade when it was made, especially that Patrick O’Sullivan went the other way.)
In 2021, Arvidsson shot 6.6%. His previous low, outside of his rookie season in the NHL, was 11.8%. If he converted just 10% of his shots this year this year, it would have been a 25 goal pace. Thus, adding his skill set to LA’s roster for a pair of draft picks is as solid of a trade as you’ll find. It’s a deal you make all day long, and twice on Sunday.
One other note on the shots totals: Arvidsson recorded 151 shots on goal in 2021. That would have led the Kings by a nice margin, topping Dustin Brown’s 129.
On July 1, 2021, the @LAKings acquired Viktor Arvidsson from Nashville for a 2021 second round draft pick and a 2022 third round pick. Since 2016-17, Arvidsson ranks 24th in the NHL in even-strength goals (93), and ranks 40th overall in goal scoring with 118.#LAKings #GoKingsGo pic.twitter.com/ckXmvbR1uA
— The Kingstorian (@Kingstorian) July 1, 2021
Doing the deal now could have potentially given GM Rob Blake a jump on the market. There is expected to be a flurry of activity around the league in coming weeks and there was no reason to wait and potentially get into a bidding war. If Arvidsson can average 20 goals per season over the remaining three years on his contract, the return was more than fair.
Now, back to the question, where does he fit in?
HOW THEY STARTED
Last month, we put together a detailed article looking at the LA Kings projected lineup for 2021-22 Opening Night:
Kempe – Kopitar – (OPEN RW1)
Iafallo – Vilardi – Andersson
(OPEN LW3) – Byfield – Brown
Moore – JAD – Wagner
Bjornfot – Doughty
(OPEN D2) – Roy
Anderson – Walker
We also looked at a plethora of internal guys fighting for those open roster spots — including Alex Turcotte and Arthur Kaliyev, and Rasmus Kupari — here.
One name that certainly has to come into question now is Andreas Athanasiou. While it was already going to be iffy on his return, today’s acquisition puts even more pressure on the situation. Conversely, if the next move by Blake involves a current roster player going the other way, Athanasiou could just as easily be back in play. For now, we’re assuming the former.
HOW THEY (Potentially) LOOK NOW
Arvidsson primarily played on the top line in Nashville. He could easily start there for the Kings.
However, it’s a bit too early to tell exactly where he slots in. Much of that will depend on what the Kings are able to pick up in a second forward. So, just looking at Arvidsson gets a bit tricky. LA has several players who can play either side, so this one acquisition can lead to a shuffling of the deck all by itself.
On the plus side, we reported quite some time ago the general idea was to get Lias Andersson over to the left side, so this move could support that idea. We’re hearing Arvidsson is currently projected to play with either Anze Kopitar or Gabe Vilardi. Given the league’s natural tendency to pair European players when possible — until a secondary move is made that adds more context — we’ll assume he’s playing with Kopitar.
Updated LA Kings projected lineup for 2021-22 Opening Night:
Iafallo – Kopitar – Arvidsson
Kempe – Vilardi – (OPEN RW2)
Andersson – Byfield – Brown
Moore – JAD – Wagner
Brown – Kopitar – (OPEN RW/LW1)
Iafallo – Vilardi – Arvidsson
Kempe – Byfield – Andersson
Moore – JAD – Wagner
For more on a potential candidate looking to snag an open roster spot at forward, see here:
FUN LITTLE TIDBIT
We’re not exactly sure how this will all play out in the end, yet we heard a very interesting tidbit the other day. Allegedly, the Kings are working toward converting Kurtis MacDermid to a fourth line winger this summer. This is an intriguing idea and one we’ve suggested in the past. Basically, you’re cutting his minutes in half as a fourth liner compared to even a third-pairing defenseman, while still maintaining his presence when needed. when he’s out of the lineup, holding him as one of two extra forwards is easier than having him as the lone extra defenseman on the roster, especially on road trips.
Would be all for MacDermid at forward (if in fact Todd doesn't go 11/7).
Suggested the idea of MacD as a fourth-line winger about a month ago on KOTP. Makes a lot of sense to me. He brings an important element to the lineup, and is valued by his teammates. https://t.co/YZVrgkYTAQ
— John Hoven | The Mayor (@mayorNHL) April 27, 2021
EXPANSION DRAFT PROTECTION LIST
As we noted in our original trade article this morning, the acquisition of Arvidsson will most likely cost Carl Grundstrom his spot on the team’s protection list. From everything we’ve gathered, the Kings remain committed to protecting three defensemen and seven forwards, as explained in the article linked below.
JERSEY NUMBER UPDATE
Arvidsson joined Kings Of The Podcast to talk about the trade and help LA fans get to know him better by sharing a myriad of stories. He answered an array of questions, including what number he plans to wear with the Kings.
Note to webmasters/reporters: When recapping news or interviews from this site please remember to include a link to www.MayorsManor.com