Why did the Nashville Predators trade Viktor Arvidsson to the Los Angeles Kings?
Perhaps Viktor Arvidsson's first nudge out of Nashville occurred Nov. 23, 2019, in St. Louis.
Robert Bortuzzo's double-crosscheck of the then-Predators forward was more like a "dirty" shove, one that cost Arvidsson four weeks of his season.
On Thursday, the oft-injured Arvidsson was traded to the Los Angeles Kings for a second-round pick in this year's NHL Draft and a third-round pick in the 2022 draft, marking the beginning of the Predators' 2021 offseason with a big move.
“There’s no question that he’s had a couple of injuries in the past couple of years that have really hurt him,” Predators general manager David Poile said after last season. “I think of the one Bortuzzo in St. Louis which was just a terrible cross-check. I think that really took him out of a lot of effectiveness.”
Arvidsson, a 28-year-old Swedish forward, was selected in the fourth round of the 2014 NHL Draft. He had 127 goals in seven seasons for the Predators, which ranks sixth in franchise history. His 34 goals in the 2018-19 season set a franchise single-season record.
Since that season, his goal totals have slumped to 15 (in 57 games in 2019-20) and 10 (in 50 games in 2020-21). He has missed 42 games during the last three regular seasons. He did not play in the team's final four postseason games this year, after missing the final five during the regular season.
“We want to thank Viktor for all he did to propel our organization forward during his time with the Predators,” Poile said in a statement. “His work ethic, tenacity and goal-scoring ability – as shown by his franchise single-season record of 34 goals during the 2018-19 season – made him a key part of our teams that reached the 2017 Stanley Cup Final, won the 2018 Presidents’ Trophy and earned back-to-back Central Division titles. We wish him and his family all the best moving forward in Los Angeles.”
The move also has some financial advantages for the Predators, who freed up $4.25 million in cap space for the next three years. After the trade, the Predators had nearly $23 million in cap space for next season.
That could be crucial considering the team could use some off that money to sign players such as Mattias Ekholm and/or Filip Forsberg, who will be unrestricted free agents after next season.
With the expansion draft coming up July 21, Arvidsson's departure also frees up another player the team can protect. It also gives them some leeway to potentially sign Pekka Rinne, who said he is taking his time deciding whether to retire.
The trade also gives the Predators eight selections in this summer's draft, scheduled for July 23-24, and seven selections in the 2022 draft.
Finally, the trade signifies Poile's willingness to break up part of the team's core, though it was not met with approval from everyone. One of Arvidsson's linemates, Ryan Johansen, took to Instagram on Thursday to express his thoughts.
"Well this turned into an awful day pretty quick," Johansen posted. "Not really sure what else to say ... but Arv I love you like a brother and I know one things ... the staples center will be chanting arvy a whole lot."
Matt Duchene posted a photo on Instagram showing his family and the Arvidsssons on a recent vacation to Florida and called Thursday a "tough day" and said he's "gonna miss you like hell."
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