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OTF Nashville Predators' Player Report Cards: Viktor Arvidsson

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This is another article in a series grading the performance of the Nashville lineup over the course of the last season. Today we have another Swede playing in Nashville who's ready to be graded.

The Tennessean-USA TODAY Sports

The Basics

In the Nashville Predators' final series of the post-season against the San Jose Sharks, a number of different forwards emerged as large contributors to the team's success. Colin Wilson had an outstanding series, Mike Fisher scored a huge goal in the third overtime of game four that let the city of Nashville finally sleep at 1:15 a.m. and James Neal looked dangerous every shift.

However, there was one forward wearing gold who completed his rookie campaign on an incredibly high note, namely Viktor Arvidsson.

It is often talked about that teams who want to compete for a Stanley Cup need depth scoring.  Every team that makes it to the Stanley Cup has a stellar first line and outstanding defensemen. Those games are not typically won by one top line outplaying another, but rather by bottom-six players on one team getting the best of their counterparts.

Arvidsson is exactly the kind of player you want on your third line if you want to win a Stanley Cup.

2015-16 Season Stats
Season Games Goals Assists Points +/- PIM PP SH GW
Regular 56 8 8 16 -8 35 1 0 3
Playoffs 14 1 1 2 -3 8 0 0 1

While his statistics may not be eye-popping, Arvidsson brought tons of energy and speed to Nashville’s third line.  As the playoffs wore on, Arvidsson consistently positioned himself in critical positions on the ice, finding his fair share of scoring chances.  It became clear that he was becoming a threat when other players began to tire. Near the end of the series against San Jose, it became clear that Arvidsson was one of the most dangerous Predators on the ice.

Best Moment Of The Season

If there is one adjective that had to be used to describe Arvidsson’s style of play, it would have to be "energetic."  While the difference in players’ speed may not be terribly visible to most viewers in a game as quick as hockey, Arvidsson stands out. When watching him on the ice, he is visibly faster than his linemates.  Perhaps it is his speed, or maybe his work ethic shines through his skating stride.

Look at the goal and the sheer acceleration that Arvidsson generates to blaze by the Shark defenders. Arvidsson plays with great speed and tempo, and is quickly becoming one of the fastest skating Predators.

Worst Moment Of The Season

An issue that plagued the young Swede last season was inconsistency and his lack of poise on the ice.  We see flashes of brilliance, such as his overtime game winner or his falling goal against San Jose during the regular season, but those moments were rare.

A common complaint and running joke about Arvidsson is his uncanny ability to always fire the puck square into the opposing goaltender’s chest, making the job of stopping the puck a relatively simple endeavor.  Watching his play, this regular occurrence results from him rushing and not taking his time with the puck.

A game that demonstrates this is from March 8th against Winnipeg. Arvidsson had a whopping eight shots on goal, but failed to convert on any of them due to poor placement. Sure, some nights you're just not going to score, but this was a common theme throughout the year.

Nevertheless, Arvidsson just completed his rookie season, and to expect a rookie to jump into a roster and have veteran poise is a little unrealistic.  There is a learning curve and, as players adjust to the speed and power of the highest level of hockey, players will naturally become more confident and develop that poise which breeds consistency.

Two examples of this in Nashville Predator history are Ryan Suter and Mattias Ekholm.  While they initially had issues with a lack of poise and not taking their time, both players blossomed into tremendous defensemen. Arvidsson is similar in that he has plenty of raw talent, but it could still be nurtured and cultivated. He fits in well on the third line as is, but if he learns how to be more effective with his talent and develops poise, he could certainly move up in the lineup.

Trending Up Or Down?

Trending up.

He ended his season with a phenomenal backhand goal in game six against San Jose. In the ensuing game seven, Arvidsson never let the situation of being down affect him and remained one of the hardest working Predators on the ice. If Arvidsson can develop poise and use his speed and shooting strength more strategically, he could become a homegrown top-six sniper.

FINAL GRADE: B

Viktor Arvidsson certainly has some things to learn about playing in the NHL. However, he showcased talent and came into his own as the playoffs progressed.  All in all, he did his job and, while his statistics are around what one would expect, he inspired optimism about his future.