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2013-14 Preview: Filip Forsberg

Ed. Note: From August 21 through September 16th, we will be providing previews for each player for the 2013-14 season. In no specific order, today we continue with Filip Forsberg…

Filip Forsberg’s last 3 seasons
Tm/Lg GP G A PTS P/M
 2010-11 SWE-1 10 1 0 1 -1
 2011-12 SWE-1 43 8 9 17 +3
 2012-13 SWE-1 38 15 18 33 +11
 2012-13 NSH 5 0 1 1 -5

2012-13 in review:
Filip Forsberg started the 2012-13 season in Sweden as one of the top prospects for the Washington Capitals. By the end of the season, he had been traded to the Nashville Predators and saw limited NHL action. Forsberg was acquired from the Capitals in exchange for long-time Predator Martin Erat and prospect Michael Latta. He appeared in five games for the Predators and recorded one assist.

Those five NHL games were the first time that Forsberg had ever experienced hockey on the smaller North American ice. Naturally, it took a little bit for him to get adjusted. The fact that he started off by playing against Pavel Datsyuk and the Detroit Red Wings and followed it up with the Sedin twins and the Vancouver Canucks didn’t exactly allow Forsberg to ease his way in. Although he didn’t put up great offensive numbers in those five appearances, Forsberg’s talent was evident. He had great skill with the puck on his stick and displayed his ability to be a playmaker with some special dekes and moves.

Perhaps the most impressive part of Forsberg’s game in the short amount of time he spent with the Predators in 2012-13 was his wrist shot. It was very noticeable in his first practice, and it’s one of the main things that stood out in Forsberg’s game.

Burning question for 2013-14: Is Forsberg ready for a full year of the North American game at the NHL level?
There’s little doubt that Forsberg is going to be a special player for the Predators one day. However, is he going to be ready for a full season of NHL caliber hockey this season, and how will the Predators make sure to utilize him in a way that will aid to his success? Although he’s undoubtedly more comfortable with the North American style of play now than he was when he first came into the league last season, Forsberg, at 19 years old, is still going to have to go through some growing pains. All young players do.

Would Forsberg be better served starting the season out in Milwaukee? After all, it would give him an opportunity to become more comfortable with the North American game while playing at a little bit lower of a level than the NHL. It worked well for fellow high-rated prospects Alexander Radulov and Colin Wilson. Forsberg certainly has the talent to make the NHL roster straight out of training camp, but the Predators can afford to take the patient route with him due to their depth at forward.

Forsberg has all of the physical tools to be successful and has shown that his talent level is well above average. He could potentially be the dynamic forward the Predators have so desperately needed for years. However, there is no need to rush and possibly hinder that development. The Predators need to be cautious with Forsberg in 2013-14. If he proves that he’s ready right now, put him in a spot in the lineup where he will be successful. If the Predators have any doubt whatsoever about whether or not he’s ready, Forsberg should start the season in Milwaukee.

 
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