Predators: How Will the Viktor Arvidsson Injury Impact the Team?

After snapping a six-game losing streak by beating the St.Louis Blues, the Nashville Predators suffered a long-term loss of Viktor Arvidsson.

We’ve already had to endure losing Filip Forsberg after a questionable hit earlier in the season, and now the Nashville Predators will miss Viktor Arvidsson for multiple games as well. Injuries unfortunately happen over an 82-game schedule, but the length of time is what really hurts.

Arvidsson will miss possibly up to six weeks after suffering what can be described as a dirty cross-check from the Blues’ Robert Bortuzzo. Here’s clip of Bortuzzo’s cross-check, and you can be the judge ( via Brady Trettenero of the Daily Faceoff):

When I look at this hit and take away my bias, I still see a cheap hit. I have a hard time finding any kind of understanding from Bortuzzo’s perspective other than he knew exactly what he was doing. What’s more troubling is he has a history of this, and is only getting a four-game suspension.

What this means for the Predators

There’s never a good time to lose one of your top players, but this is particularly a bad time as the Predators are trying to climb out of a slump that has them 2-6-1 in the month of November. They did just snap a six-game losing streak after beating the Blues on Saturday night.

Losing Arvidsson means losing speed and offensive firepower on the top line. It’s going to force the Predators to do more shuffling of their lines. A team that hasn’t been able to find much stability in their top two lines and how they want them constructed.

This is going to call upon Calle Jarnkrok having to continue to play at a career-high level. Jarnkrok will likely start in Arvidsson’s place on the top line in the first game since the injury. This game will also comes against the Blues.

Jarnkork is already well on pace of shattering his career high of 35 points in a season. He’s up to 15 points this season, and also is halfway to his career high in goals with eight. He’ll keep getting valuable top-six playing time and will need to continue to elevate his game.

As for Arvidsson, he’s been on a goal drought that’s only seen him score once  in the last 11 games. He also only has four assists through that same span. Even with that, losing Arvidsson hurts bad for the Predators because you’re losing a player who flips the ice constantly with his rushes and creates offensive chances.

Calling on the AHL depth

What’s really significant about losing Arvidsson for an long period of time is the Predators leaning on their minor league pipeline more. Daniel Carr has gotten the call-up from Milwaukee due to this injury. It will be his second stint with the Predators this season.

Carr is lighting it up in the AHL right now, leading Milwaukee with 11 goals and 21 points through just 16 games played. He was the AHL MVP last season. It’s obviously tough to lose Arvidsson for possibly over a month, but I’m intrigued to see what Carr will bring to the lineup.

The Predators are also leaning on Mathieu Olivier to earn minutes on the team’s fourth line. He’s going to get his fourth-straight start for the Predators tonight against the Blues. With Arvidsson’s injury, the Predators are going to lean more on the AHL depth as Milwaukee is playing some great hockey as of late.

It’s unfortunate and infuriating to lose Arvidsson to such a bad and questionable hit, but I’m confident the Predators have the depth to weather the storm. Their offense might take a hit from it, but it’s their defense that has to keep showing improvement. That and better goaltending.

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Here’s to hoping Arvidsson returns sooner than expected and doesn’t suffer any further setbacks. The injury timetable is also flirting with the Winter Classic on New Year’s Day.

 

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