Filip Forsberg is a 6’1, 194lb forward who plays for the Nashville Predators. Forsberg, born in Östervåla, Sweden, began playing professional hockey for Leksands IF, of the newly re-named Swedish Hockey League, after posting 40 points (21-19) in 36 games for Leksands J20 team in 2010-2011. Forsberg played in ten games for Leksands IF’s pro team, posting just one goal. The following year, Forsberg played in 43 games for the big club, posting 17 points (8-9) while also playing seven total games for Leksands IF’s junior teams. He was rated the top European skater by NHL Central Scouting for the 2012 NHL Entry Draft. That summer, the Washington Capitals took Forsberg with the 11th overall pick in the 2012 Draft. You may look at Forsberg’s numbers from that season and think to yourself why the Capitals would take someone with just 17 points that high? It must be kept in mind that Forsberg was just 17 years old and playing against grown men so he did not get to play all that much. This past season, Forsberg totaled 33 points (15-18) in 38 games for Leksands IF on loan from the Capitals. Then, at the trade deadline in the NHL, the Washington Capitals traded Forsberg to the Nashville Predators in exchange for veteran forward Martin Erat and prospect Michael Latta. After the SHL season ended, Forsberg came over to the NHL and played in five games for the Preds getting just one assist. Forsberg has also represented Sweden in international junior tournaments. He’s played 12 games total for Sweden’s Under-18 World Junior team with a combined 13 points (9-4) as well as 12 games for their Under-20 World Junior team and a total of 6 points (3-3). For the U18 team, Forsberg has won two silver medals, a best forward award, and was the captain in his last year of eligibility. As for the U20 team, Forsberg has a silver and gold medal, was named to the All-Star team, and was the captain for Sweden in the most recent tournament.
His 6’2 frame is very projectable. He’s a very good two-way player with room to grow on both sides. He’s responsible defensively, has good defensive instincts, but also has a great offensive game. Forsberg has a great shot with a very quick release and knows when/how to use it with the tools to become a terrific offensive player. He’s a very good stick-handler who’s also very creative and flashy and keeps defenders off-balance by being unpredictable. He’s a quality skater with good, strong strides. Forsberg’s hockey sense and knowledge of the game are first-class. Has the ability to play both wings as well as centre.
While his frame is projectable, he needs to reach that projection. Forsberg must add size so, not only to be able to survive the physicality of NHL players, but also so he can maximize his offensive game at the top-level. Forsberg must also learn to be more consistent in his game.
2013-2014 NHL Projection:
Despite being tied for the fewest goals for per game last season, Nashville is actually crowded with forwards. Forsberg is listed as a centre on the Predators website. To me, he would be better off being used as a winger. To me, Nashville has better depth on the left side with Colin Wilson, Viktor Stalberg, Nick Spaling, and Eric Nystrom than on the right with Patric Hornqvist, Craig Smith, Matt Hendricks, and Richard Clune. They could take Clune out of the lineup and insert Forsberg as the second line right-winger playing with David Legwand and Viktor Stalberg. Going into the future, Forsberg would ideally take over for Hornqvist as the first line right-winger.
If Forsberg can find chemistry with his line-mates and doesn’t get moved around the lineup too much, he could put together a very nice season and maybe even be a dark-horse Calder candidate. Or, at the very least, help Nashville get out of the basement in goals for totals.
Follow me on Twitter, @BShaw27.