On June 28, the Nashville Predators took to the mic at their table and drafted a Swedish forward named Viktor Arvidsson. The Skelleftea, Sweden native was 21 years old – nearly four years older than first round pick Kevin Fiala and more than two full years older than most of the players drafted that year, period.
Why is this important in October? Ask the Swedish Hockey League bylaws.
Skellefteå’s General Manager Lasse Johansson told a Swedish newspaper that he was unaware of the rule that allows SHL clubs to keep NHL drafted players if they’re drafted in the second round or later, have a contract in Europe, is 22 years old or does not play at the NHL level.
To recap, Arvidsson was taken in the fourth round, is under a European contract with Skelleftea, is 21 years old and is set to start the season in the AHL. The only factor that doesn’t apply is the age factor.
Using Google Translate, Bodin mentions that everyone is in wait-and-see mode and also that Arvidsson “wants nothing more” than to stay in North America and compete for an NHL job at some point. Of course, he also mentions that his Skelleftea club wants him back now that they’re aware of the rule.
If he’s forced to return home, it would be quite a loss for the Admirals. While small (he’s listed at 5’9”), Arvidsson is a talented player who finished ninth in SHL scoring last season (40 points in 50 games) and helped his team win back-to-back league championships in 2013 and 2014. And, of course, he dazzled during development camp with this move.
“He’s a little bit of a late bloomer but he’s an exciting player,” General Manager David Poile said immediately following the draft this summer. “He’s quick, he’s fast and he scores.”
Chief Amatuer Scout Jeff Kealty agreed.
“He’s a dynamic type of scorer with explosive speed,” he said. “Another real high-end offensive type of guy.”
In Milwaukee, Arvidsson should skate regularly with some combination of Miikka Salomaki, Colton Sissons, Austin Watson, Brendan Leipsic and Pontus Aberg. If he heads back to Sweden, the Preds will have to wait another year in order to see what they truly have in their fourth round pick. If the two teams can come to an agreement, however, Nashville can find out now.
Which is how Arvidsson, himself, wants it.
PHOTO CREDIT: Sarah Fuqua (used with permission)