LA Kings: How the Viktor Arvidsson acquisition impacts expansion draft

(Photo by Ronald C. Modra/NHL/Getty Images)
(Photo by Ronald C. Modra/NHL/Getty Images) /

Now that the LA Kings have acquired a scoring winger in Viktor Arvidsson, how does that impact their plans for Seattle’s expansion draft?

The LA Kings made a bold statement that they are committed to improving their roster for the 2021-22 season. General manager Rob Blake indicated the team would be looking to add two top-six forwards in the offseason, and they can cross one of those off the list. On Thursday, the team acquired Predators forward Viktor Arvidsson in exchange for a 2021 second-round pick and a 2022 third-round pick.

The move gives the Predators some extra financial flexibility, with Arvidsson accounting for a $4.3M AAV cap hit in each of the next three seasons. Meanwhile, the Kings get their scoring winger to put alongside Anze Kopitar, but it will be interesting to see how Los Angeles approaches the Seattle expansion draft with Arvidsson in their back pocket now.

The Kings just acquired him, so they will not leave him exposed to Seattle, and by all accounts, the team is leaning toward protecting 7 forwards, 3 defensemen, and 1 goalie. If you recall, we look at a scenario that protected any combination of 8 skaters, which resulted in way too many talented forwards exposed only to protect Kale Clague – essentially what that boiled down to.

Going with the 7/3/1 approach, let’s look at how the Arvidsson acquisition shakes things up.

Exempt List:

Arthur Kaliyev, Tyler Madden, Alex Turcotte, Quinton Byfield, Gabe Vilardi, Rasmus Kupari, Akil Thomas, Samuel Fagemo, Johan Sodergran, Aidan Dudas, Jaret Anderson-Dolan, Vladimir Tkachev, Cole Hults, Mikey Anderson, Tobias Bjornfot, Jordan Spence, Sean Durzi, Markus Phillips, Helge Grans, Jacob Ingham, Matt Villalta

Protected Forwards (7)

Anze Kopitar, Viktor Arvidsson, Alex Iafallo, Adrian Kempe, Trevor Moore, Brendan Lemieux, Lias Andersson

Protected Defensemen (3)

Drew Doughty, Matt Roy, Sean Walker

Protected Goalie (1)

Cal Petersen

Unprotected List

Dustin Brown, Andreas Athanasiou, Austin Wagner, Blake Lizotte, Boko Imama, Drake Rymsha, Carl Grundstrom, Martin Frk, Matt Luff, Mikey Eyssimont, Olli Maatta, Kale Clague, Christian Wolanin, Kurtis MacDermid, Austin Strand, Jacob Moverare, Daniel Brickley, Mark Alt, Jonathan Quick, Troy Grosenick

*Several players on the unprotected list are heading for free agency, so their status with the team, obviously, remains uncertain. We did our best to predict which ones return next year.

I’ve seen a lot of folks wanting Dustin Brown to be protected, but here’s where I am at with that. He has one year left on his contract at a $5.875M cap hit. He’ll also be 37 years old in November. Seattle will want someone younger and under team control for longer than one season. Brown can safely be left exposed, just as he was for the Vegas draft, and return next season to finish out his final year with the LA Kings.

Assuming Athanasiou returns this offseason, the Kings didn’t give up any assets to acquire him in the first place. Let’s assume he is re-signed to a two-year deal in the $2-3M AAV range. I’d be more inclined to leave him exposed over Moore, Lemieux, and Andersson – all players they gave up something to get something.

Unfortunately, with Arvidsson’s arrival, Carl Grundstrom is likely left exposed. Yes, he was acquired as part of the Jake Muzzin deal with Toronto, but he hasn’t shown much in part of three seasons with the team. Last year, the 23-year-old demonstrated good physicality but did little offensively, accounting for just six goals and 11 points in 47 games.