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The Los Angeles Kings are adding some firepower before the busiest time on the hockey calendar.

On July 1 — typically reserved for the frenzy of free agency — the team announced that they have acquired winger Viktor Arvidsson from the Nashville Predators for a 2nd-round and a 3rd-round pick.

Arvidsson, 28, saw his production slump last season, scoring just 10 goals and 25 points in 50 games compared to previous 60-point campaigns in full 82-game seasons, and the Kings are betting on him eventually returning to his former level.

With three seasons left on his contract and a $4.25-million cap hit, Nashville clears some significant cap space as they attempt a quasi retooling, and as always, the upcoming Seattle Kraken expansion draft has its influences on this move.

Arvidsson would have required protection under the 7-3-1 format, but with him gone they can shift to eight skaters and retain their quartet of top-tier defensemen. Getting something in exchange for Arvidsson, even if it’s a couple of draft picks, is certainly better than potentially losing him for nothing to Seattle.

For the Kings, this signifies a turn into hopeful playoff contention. The new-look Pacific Division (with the aforementioned Kraken) is projected to be one of the weakest divisions in the league and playoff spots will certainly be up for grabs. It helps that they also have a top prospect pool led by center Quinton Byfield that can bring them back into relevancy.

Maybe Los Angeles can finally make that jump back into the postseason with a bonafide top-six offensive talent, or Arvidsson will continue declining as he reaches his 30’s. It’s a gamble, but it is savvy for Kings GM Rob Blake to take advantage of an awkward expansion situation in Nashville and acquire a solid winger for just a couple of draft picks.

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