If you were to watch any of the five Predators games from this season, even if you knew absolutely nothing about hockey, there is no way you wouldn’t have noticed Viktor Arvidsson.
This is the man who broke into Predators lore with the most genuine self-congratulatory fist-pump I can ever remember.
That was last year on opening night against the Hurricanes. Arvy scored his first goal in the NHL off a deflection in front of Cam Ward. It wasn’t flashy, but it was quick and disruptive.
That’s just who he is.
Arvidsson, who is probably most known for his game-winning backhand in Game 6 against the Sharks back in May, is the most explosive and disruptive force on the Predators right now. That could not be more apparent than after the Predators 5-1 win over the Penguins on Saturday. Arvidsson collected two goals, one on the power play and one at even strength, but it was his overall presence in the game that made Arvy the most noticeable Predator.
Due to several folks missing from the lineup, Arvidsson found himself on the top line with Ryan Johansen and James Neal. He finished the game with 20:36 TOI, four shots, one block, two takeaways, and a +1. For a guy that had not played more than 18 minutes in a regulation game, this was a fantastic performance and one that could not have come at a better time.
What’s truly unique about Arvidsson is the combination of his industrious, lunch-pail personality along with his youthful exuberance on the ice. With these two traits combined, you have a player that is impossible not to love.
Just take a listen to this interview with Lyndsay Rowley.
You just want to hug him and say “I’m so proud of you, son.”
Live every day like you're Viktor Arvidsson— /r/Predators (@PredsReddit) October 23, 2016
AND YOU CAN DO JUST THAT. ALL YOU HAVE TO DO IS BE THE BEST VERSION OF YOURSELF POSSIBLE.
He’s just a treat.
What’s more is the great thing about a player like Arvidsson is that he can be plugged in to almost any line with little to no cost. He doesn’t make bad plays defensively and he only has one turnover in five games. He provides immense pressure on opposing players, causing havoc in the offensive zone. He isn’t shy about shooting, either. Arvy has 17 shots through five games, which is second on the team behind James Neal.
.@RStanley247 and I both agree that Arvidsson-Johansen-Neal should be a thing even when the Predators aren't stricken by illness.— Adam Vingan (@AdamVingan) October 23, 2016
Will he continue to play on that top line? It’s hard to tell. Probably not, but there isn’t any reason to expect that if he doesn’t that means his role is diminished. Being a disruptive force has its benefits, and one of those benefits is Coach Laviolette calling your name to go on to the ice and make something happen, night after night.
Most people tuning in to watch the Predators are there to watch P.K. Subban, Roman Josi, Filip Forsberg, or James Neal. While they’re there, they also get the added bonus of watching Viktor Arvidsson.