The original plan was for recently-acquired prospect Filip Forsberg to arrive in Nashville this weekend, skate with the team Sunday morning and make his NHL debut Monday night against Vancouver. Those plans seem to have been altered.
Following his media scrum Saturday afternoon, Predators head coach Barry Trotz had some breaking news to pass along: There is a chance Forsberg makes his debut Sunday night against rival Detroit on national television.
“David [Poile] talked to Forsberg before he left … He feels that he’d be capable of playing tomorrow. So if there are no hang-ups in his flight and is ready for the morning skate – if everything is all good then I will put him in the lineup tomorrow,” Trotz said.
Forsberg was acquired in the deadline-day trade that sent Martin Erat and prospect Michael Latta to the Washington Capitals. Forsberg was drafted 11th overall by the Capitals last summer but was a considered a top-five talent in that draft class.
In two exhibition games for the IIHF World Championships last weekend, Forsberg played for the Swedish national team and tallied a goal and an assist. His season is over in Sweden and was en route to Nashville on Saturday afternoon after working out some visa issues this week.
Trotz said the only thing that may keep Forsberg from playing Sunday is if his equipment doesn’t arrive on time.
“We’re using young guys, so from my standpoint there’s no reservation [to playing him],” Trotz said. “How much will I play him? I don’t know. I’ll try to put him in situations where he might be able to show some of his ability.”
If Forsberg plays in the six remaining games, it would burn off a year of his entry-level contract. That wouldn’t be the case if he played in five games, which is the limit in this lockout-shortened season.
According to the team Forsberg will wear No. 9 once he does make his debut, whether that is Sunday or Monday. Either way, Trotz hopes the addition of Forsberg to the lineup can provide a lift for his Predators team that has lost five games in a row.
“It can’t hurt,” he said.