Viktor Arvidsson is no stranger with having to go the long way around. The 22-year-old Swedish forward for the Nashville Predators made a long journey to the National Hockey League and made the team out of training camp.
However, the emergence of Austin Watson and the need for Arvidsson to get more ice time had the Predators send Arvidsson down to the American Hockey League’s Milwaukee Admirals in late October. Injuries forced Nashville to bring back Arvidsson and he’s done well in his second stint with the team.
Arvidsson has scored in two straight games for the Predators and potted the game-winner in Nashville’s 3-2 win over the Boston Bruins on Dec. 7 at TD North Garden. He’s not just an extra body, but he’s made some significant contributions.
Learning on the Fly
This is only Arvidsson’s second full season in North America, and there was a learning curve. There have always been concerns about his size as he’s only 5’9”, 175 pounds, but he did well in his first stint in the league late last season.
Many thought Arvidsson was destined to start the year back in Milwaukee with players like Kevin Fiala and Steve Moses getting shots at being on the third line, but he defied the odds and made the Predators’ opening night roster after a very good preseason. He ended with that coveted spot on the third line with fellow Swede Calle Jarnkrok and center Cody Hodgson.
Arvidsson ended up getting the game-winner in the 2015-16 season-opening victory over the Carolina Hurricanes, but he would struggle to generate points. Arvidsson would end up back in Milwaukee as the Predators would end up carrying two extra defensemen.
The On the Forecheck blog said this about Arvidsson being reassigned.
Arvidsson had a solid preseason, but he does need to work on a few things to keep him up at the NHL level. Don’t be shocked to see him bounce back and forth a couple of times as the season progresses.
Viktor Arvidsson Back to Nashville
Arvidsson’s stay in the AHL wouldn’t be long as the Predators ran into a rash of injuries late in November. He’d return in Nashville’s loss to the Buffalo Sabres on Nov. 28. It wasn’t an ideal start as he was ejected for a pretty bad cross-check to the throat of Carlo Colaiacovo.
He didn’t score in his first few games, but he then broke through against the Red Wings. Arvidsson then followed that up by using his speed and stickhandling skills to get the game-winning goal against Boston. Arvidsson used his moves on the wing and waited for Jonas Gustavasson to commit before cooly putting it by him.
Arvidsson would get the He didn’t score in the loss to Chicago on Dec. 8, but he played almost 16 minutes and has become more of a part of the offense. He even made a great hustle play in to set up Craig Smith’s eventual game-winning goal.
There’s only one goal that Arvidsson has since he’s call up, and he told The Tennessean’s Predators beat writer Adam Vingan, “I want to stay here.”
Predators coach Peter Laviolette has been a fan of Arvidsson since the callup. Laviolette praised Arvidsson’s hustle and speed, and the assist on the Smith goal showed that.
It’s no secret that his better play is getting Arvidsson more minutes and moving up the depth chart. The fourth-round pick in the 2014 NHL Draft could be turning into another one of general manager David Poile’s patented draft steals.
It will be interesting to see what happens to Viktor Arvidsson when the team gets fully healthy. Many of the younger players at the bottom of the lineup have done really well and have made decisions hard for Laviolette and Poile. That’s not a bad thing as it could be a boon for the Predators if they want to land a top center via trade or keep these young guns on the team.
Nashville had a really hard time later in the season because of the lack of scoring depth. Arvidsson and the other could go a long way in alleviating some of that burden.