Viktor Arvidsson's new contract is a steal for the Predators
David Poile has done it again.
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.
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.
The good people at Cap Friendly put together a list of contracts that compare to Arvidsson's. Here are some names who matched up:
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:
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)