When Viktor Arvidsson looked at the Los Angeles Kings’ schedule, it didn’t take long to find his first trip back to Nashville, where he played his first seven NHL seasons.
Arvidsson, acquired by the Kings in an offseason trade for two draft picks, will return to the Music City on Tuesday night when the Kings play the Predators.
Arvidsson, who has a goal and an assist through two games on the Kings’ No. 1 line with Anze Kopitar and Dustin Brown, said he speaks with some of his former teammates about “every other day.”
Will it be easier to get his return over with sooner rather than later?
“I haven’t thought about it that way,” he said. “I’ll go in there and be the player I am and show who I am and not think about it too much. For sure, it’s going to be pretty special.”
Kings coach Todd McLellan has encountered this many times.
“We have a new player on our team, and we’re going to his old city where he spent his whole career,” McLellan said of Arvidsson. “I know our players are going to want to play hard for him. They want to reward him. I’m sure in Nashville they’re going to recognize Arvy for what he gave them, which was some really good years.
“But it is pro sports. This happens often, and it’ll happen again down the road with other players. But it can give you a boost and not just the individual that’s going back but certainly the others.”
The addition of Arvidsson certainly has boosted the 34-year-old Kopitar, who was named the NHL’s No. 1 star for the first week of the season, when he had four goals and three assists over two games. He had a hat trick in a 6-2 victory against Las Vegas and added a goal Saturday in a 3-2 loss to Minnesota.
McLellan seems pleased with Arvidsson’s assimilation into the top line.
“He’s a shooter,” McLellan said. “He wants to shoot the puck. He does shoot the puck from everywhere. He has a quickness and a tenacity to him that is effective. He’s got a pretty good engine and can play with those top players for a lot of minutes.”
Arvidsson said the player he’s looking forward to facing the most is Predators defenseman Mattias Ekholm, a fellow Swede.
“We’re good friends,” Arvidsson said. “It’ll be fun. I’ve never played him. And I know he likes to battle, too. Like me. We had our differences in practices sometimes.”
The Predators have lost their first two games, including dropping their opener 4-3 to the expansion Seattle Kraken.
They suffered another one-goal home defeat Saturday, 3-2 to the Carolina Hurricanes despite a goal and an assist from Ryan Johansen. Filip Forsberg also scored for the Predators, and Juuse Saros made 29 saves.
“We did a lot of things better (Saturday),” Johansen said. “So many positives. … The fact of the matter is that we are 0-2. We’ve got to find ways to win hockey games. It’s hard to win hockey games in this league. It’s too bad. We worked our butts off.”
–Field Level Media