Filip Forsberg will make his NHL debut with the Nashville Predators on Sunday night against the Detroit Red Wings. Forsberg will likely be playing on a line with David Legwand and Taylor Beck due to an upper-body injury from Patric Hornqvist that will cause him to miss tonight’s game.
Nashville traded for Forsberg at the trading deadline when they dealt away veteran forward Martin Erat and young prospect Michael Latta. Forsberg is a highly rated prospect that appears to have game-breaking offensive skills. That’s something the Predators have desperately needed over the past few seasons. He seems to be pretty excited to make his debut tonight.
“It’s a huge honor to be here and play for the Predators, and I’m just happy to get out there tonight and I’m looking forward to it,” Forsberg said.
Forsberg took to the ice in morning skate and was playing on Nashville’s top power play unit with Legwand and Beck. It looks like the Predators will be putting him in a position to show some of his offensive flare. Predators’ Head Coach Barry Trotz was impressed with Forsberg despite having only spent a very minimal amount of time with him.
“You see why you get excited about the deal that we made. He’s big. I mean he’s 18-years-old. He’s a load. You can see the skill set. He shoots the puck really hard. You can see he’s got good mobility for a young guy. You’re excited. Great, great potential. That’s always a dangerous word because that just means he hasn’t done it yet. Tonight will be the first game. Just remember, he’s 18 years old and it looks like he’s got a ton of talent and some size and all those things you look for,” Trotz said.
There was a lot of media attention to Forsberg on Sunday morning at Bridgestone Arena. It was a lot for a young 18-year-old player making his NHL debut to take in, and it sparked some good jokes with the media from Nashville’s leader.
“Was he out there?”, said Predators captain Shea Weber. “Yeah, he’s good. I don’t know, we were out there for 15 minutes so it’s tough to tell, but he’s a big kid that can skate. Obviously, he’s a good player.”
Forsberg arrived in Nashville on Saturday and is staying with fellow Swede Patric Hornqvist. Staying with someone that comes from the same culture should help Forsberg with the transition to life in North America.
“I was here when he came from the airport and we showed him around, and then I drove with him. He’s staying at Patric Hornqvist’s. You talk about a good leader, Patric’s taken him under his wing. Obviously, it helps when you have a countrymen. Staying at his house will be a lot more comfortable,” Trotz said.
It should be a pretty interesting night at Bridgestone Arena. It will be the last time that the Red Wings visit Nashville as a member of the Central Division, and Forsberg will make one of the most anticipated debuts in Predators’ history. Forsberg isn’t quite sure what it’s going to be like once he steps onto the NHL ice.
“I don’t know, really,” Forsberg said. “It’s hard to imagine because you’ve never been there, but it’s going to be a lot of fun I guess. I heard it’s going to be sold out, too. It’s going to be a very fun night.”