One of the most underrated players in the National Hockey League is Nashville Predators forward Viktor Arvidsson.
This season, Arvidsson is posting ridiculously strong 5v5 numbers. After 23 regular season games, he owns an average of 2.02 Goals/60 and 1.28 Total Assists/60. His Goals/60 and Total Assists/60 rates are pretty much the best in the NHL. There are some others across the NHL that have a better Goals/60 and Total Assists/60 including Brandon Pirri of the Vegas Golden Knights and Brendan Gaunce of the Vancouver Canucks, but they haven’t played in that many games.
While Arvidsson still hasn’t played 44/45 games like many other NHLers, his numbers are still very impressive. If you look at the leaderboard on NaturalStatTrick.com, Arvidsson owns a higher Goals/60 then John Tavares of the Toronto Maple Leafs, Jeff Skinner of the Buffalo Sabres, Elias Pettersson of the Canucks, Auston Matthews of the Maple Leafs and Alex Ovechkin of the Washington Capitals.
In addition, this isn’t the first season that Arvidsson has posted great 5v5 numbers. While his 5v5 numbers last season weren’t as good as this season, they still were pretty good. In 78 games played, Arvidsson had averaged 1.12 Goals/60 and 1.12 Total Assists/60.
Aside from his Goals/60 and Total Assists/60 averages, his shooting percentage (S%) this season is off the charts. Currently, the Skellefteå, Sweden native owns a 19.4 S%. Per Hockey-Reference.com, Arvidsson ranks 15 out of 20 on the list of the top 20 players in terms of S%.
What Is Hurting Arvidsson?
Unfortunately, his power-play performance is what hurts Arvidsson. After 23 games played, he has 1 goal and 1 assist when the Predators are playing 5v4 or 5v3 hockey.
Oddly enough, Arvidsson is playing with very strong offensive players on the top power-play unit. He’s being featured alongside Ryan Johansen, Filip Forsberg, Ryan Ellis and Roman Josi, but that unit just isn’t producing. In fact, the Predators have one of the worst power-play units in the NHL. They rank 26th in the NHL with a power-play percentage of 15.1.
With the Predators struggling on the power-play, you can’t put all of the blame on Arvidsson’s shoulders. Perhaps, it’s the power-play strategy that Predators head coach, Peter Laviolette is utilizing.
Arvidsson’s 5v5 Numbers Are Elite
In addition, power-play numbers are less impressive than full strength offensive success. It’s easier to score goals when your team is playing 5v4 or 5v3 hockey. So, I wouldn’t read too much into Arvidsson’s struggles on the power-play. Instead, he should getting more recognition from across the NHL for his strong 5v5 play.
Plus, he’s shown that he can score some beautiful goals like this one below.
— Hockey Daily 365 (@HockeyDaily365) January 10, 2019
In the tweet from @HockeyDaily365, you can see a GIF of Arvidsson scoring a beautiful backhand shot against Collin Delia of the Chicago Blackhawks. Arvidsson uses his strong puck-handling skill-set to confuse Delia and then is about to put a backhand shot past Delia.
All-in-all, Arvidsson is one of the strongest offensive weapons in the NHL and hopefully he begins to get more recognition for his strong 5v5 performance.
Stats from NHL.com, FoxSports.com, Hockey-Reference.com, NaturalStatTrick.com
Featured Image Photo Credit – Nikos Michals