Viktor Arvidsson's new contract is a steal for the Predators

Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports / USA TODAY Sports

David Poile has done it again.

The Nashville Predators general manager signed budding young forward Viktor Arvidsson to a seven-year contract worth $29.75 million. That's an annual cap hit of just $4.25 million.

Arivdsson turned 24 years old in April and is coming off a breakout year in which he scored 31 goals, added 30 assists, and was a major reason why the Preds made it all the way to the Stanley Cup Final.

There is some risk for Poile and the Predators as they're locking up a player with just one good season under his belt, but by watching Arvidsson play and looking deeper into the numbers, it's clear this is a very calculated risk.

Numbers don't lie

Arvidsson came out of nowhere to score 31 goals last season, but he did so with a shooting percentage of 12.6 percent, which is only slightly above the league average of 10.753 percent for forwards.

The speedy forward wasn't one-dimensional either. He scored 22 of his 31 goals at even strength, four on the power-play, and a league-leading five while shorthanded. Having a first-line player who can kill penalties is a huge asset.

Speaking of the first line, Arvidsson found great chemistry alongside Ryan Johansen and Filip Forsberg on the team's top unit, but it took him some time to grow into that role.

He averaged 17:09 minutes per game last season, but only 15:13 in the first 20 games. He played 18:10 in the final 20 games of the season, which probably provides a better idea of what his ice time will look like next season.

On a per 60-minute basis, Arvidsson ranked third among NHL forwards in shot attempts by one's team while said player was on the ice (at five-one-five), trailing only Brad Marchand and Patrice Bergeron. Essentially, if an entire game was played at five-on-five and Arvidsson was on the ice for all 60 minutes, the Predators would have averaged 68.4 shot attempts per game.

Sticking with rate stats, Arvidsson also ranked exceptionally well in scoring chances for per 60 minutes (SCF/60), which tracks how many scoring chances a team generated while an individual player was on the ice. Arvidsson ranked 14th among NHL forwards with 32.79 SCF/60. In comparison, Sidney Crosby led the league with 37.96 SCF/60.

What all of this means is that Arvidsson's breakout season doesn't appear to be a fluke.

Comparable contracts

The good people at Cap Friendly put together a list of contracts that compare to Arvidsson's. Here are some names who matched up:

Player Signing age Length AAV Match%
Victor Rask 23 6 $4M 89.8
Rickard Rakell 23 6 $3.8 87.8
Nick Bjugstad 22 6 $4.1M 86.5
Alex Killorn 26 7 $4.45M 86.3
Brendan Gallagher 22 6 $3.75M 86.0
Vincent Trocheck 22 6 $4.75M 85.8
Cody Hodgson 23 6 $4.25M 84.3
Adam Henrique 23 6 $4M 83.5
Sean Couturier 22 6 $4.3M 80.4
Andrew Shaw 24 6 $3.9M 79.1

No player on this list has ever reached the 60-point plateau, and only Rakell and Henrique have scored 30 goals, but both did so with inflated shooting percentages.

Predators are sitting pretty

The Predators have just under $15 million in cap space remaining after re-signing Arvidsson. They still have to re-sign restricted free agents Johansen and Austin Watson, but that should still leave them with plenty of wiggle room.

More importantly, Arvidsson joins a list of key Predators players who are vastly underpaid. Take a look:

Player Age AAV Years remaining
Filip Forsberg 22 $6M 5
Roman Josi 27 $4M 3
Mattias Ekholm 27 $3.75M 5
Ryan Ellis 26 $2.5M 2

Arvidsson, Forsberg, Josi, Ekholm, and Ellis have a combined cap hit of just $20.5 million. These bargains significantly extend Nashville's window of competing for the Stanley Cup.

Give yourself a pat on the back, Mr Poile.

(Advanced stats courtesy: Natural Stat Trick)

(Photos courtesy: Action Images)

Viktor Arvidsson's new contract is a steal for the Predators
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