We all desperately want to put the ending to the 2017-18 Predators season behind us, but before we do, there’s one more point of order: player reviews!
Over the course of the next few weeks, we’ll do our best to objectively review each player’s season, recap their highs and lows, enjoy some fun tweets and gifs, and then arbitrarily assign them a letter grade that means nothing.
We will go alphabetically, starting with everyone’s favorite Viktor Arvidsson.
Arvidsson finished 2nd on the team with 61 points, including 29 goals and 32 assists. Being one goal shy of a thirty goal season is annoying, but doesn’t change his impact: he was as consistent an offensive player for this team as anyone.
What’s remarkable about Arvidsson’s style of play is how every team knows exactly what he’s going to do, but they still can’t stop him. He’s going to forecheck your ass off, he’s going to force turnovers, and he’s going to put shots on goal from literally everywhere on the ice.
You’d like to see maybe a bit more concentration closer to the front of the net, but there’s not much else to complain about with his shot production. He’s got so many go-to moves: the slap shot from the right circle, the wrist shot down low, the wrap-around, the backhand, the deflection—he can do it all.
Having someone who never needs to be told to shoot is invaluable. Arvy had at least two shots or more in 63 of his 78 games this year and at least four shots or more in 31 games. His shots for per sixty minutes at even strength was a bit down from last year (33.6 this year, 36.1 last year) but his individual shot attempts per sixty minutes went up (19.5 this year, 18.9 last year). His overall shot based numbers (Corsi-For %, etc.) were slightly down this year, but his individual numbers didn’t seem to be the reason.
Then there’s those jump screens. He really seemed to emphasize those this year. Those don’t show up on either the basic or advanced stats, but they were a big part of his game. Let’s say that 20% of goals scored from the blueline were in some way affected by Arvy’s jump screen. Conservatively, that would mean he influenced about 10 goals, which honestly seems very low. It could be more like 15 or 20.
Arvidsson also contributes on special teams, logging the 2nd most minutes among forwards on the power play and the 5th most minutes among forwards on the penalty kill. He does it all, and he does it all very well.
Arvy is signed through 2024 and he isn’t showing any signs of slowing down.
Oh there’s plenty of these. It’s difficult to choose, really.
First there’s this one:
And then there’s this one, where he scored on the doorstep while falling down:
And then there’s this goal that capped off two short-handed goals in 34 seconds on the same Jets’ power play:
Arvy’s whole season was a blur of best moments. Pick any of them!
The one critique of Arvy’s otherwise spectacular season would be in his rate of giveaways/takeaways. His rate of giveaways went up (1.44 per sixty this year, 1.23 per sixty last year) and his rate of takeaways went down (1.44 per sixty this year, 1.60 per sixty last year). This isn’t a huge problem—his aggressiveness is prone to some volatility in this department. Plus, when you look at the raw counts, it only amounts to a handful of plays over the course of the season.
But it does lead to moments like this one:
This occurred on January 23rd against the Lightning, in which Tampa won in OT. Here was Yanni Gourde’s OT winner, featuring another bad moment for Arvy.
Some of this is just bad luck, some of it is great skill by Gourde. The puck is there for Arvy to make a play, but if you notice, he’s looking up ice to find a stretch pass instead of protecting the puck in a very dangerous area. Gourde’s well timed stick lift allows Namestnikov to pounce on the loose puck and find a wide open Gourde on the back side. Arvy panics and is caught between following the puck carrier and trying to block a pass and basically does neither.
Sometimes being overly aggressive can get Arvidsson into trouble, but you happily take the good with the bad when it comes to a player like him. This was one game with a couple of bad moments (and a game in which he scored a goal, no less), but for all the incredible things he does on the ice as mentioned above, he’s allowed a mulligan or two.