Nashville Predators: Filip Forsberg Finally Living Up To Hype

NASHVILLE, TN - OCTOBER 10: Filip Forsberg
NASHVILLE, TN - OCTOBER 10: Filip Forsberg /

Nasvhille Predators Filip Forsberg has long been considered a good player for the Nashville Predators. Yet, he continually isn’t considered a top 40 player in the NHL.

Nashville Predators forward,Filip Forsberg, is insanely talented. He has the silkiest mitts on the team, and can stick handle through the best defenders in the league. Those hands allow him to manufacture goals from anywhere on the ice, even in awkward positions as seen in the video below.

He has always played a solid two-way game and loves using that big frame of his. One of the things that makes Forsberg so good is strength with the puck. Most of the time, he feels the defender coming and then at the last minute, pivots around and thrusts his body into theirs. Almost like a preemptive check. Just take a look at this video:

He doesn’t only pass the eye-test for being a good hockey player, but he has the numbers to back

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it up. Since his first full season with the Nashville Predators in 2014, Forsberg has scored 94 goals. That’s good for 13th in the entire league over that span. His 191 points are good for 26th as well. Forsberg is one of the most clutch players in the whole league. In his time in the NHL, he has amassed 20 game-winning goals, good for fifth most.

Like I said before, he doesn’t just play offense. Defensive savvy is a hallmark of Forsberg’s game. In fact, one stat we can look at to measure this is takeaways. I hope the term “takeaway” is self-explanatory. Forsberg is sixth amongst all forwards in takeaways since becoming a full-timer at this level. That is extremely uncommon to have such an elite scorer play elite-level defense as well.

Comparatively Speaking

The experts claim Forsberg has superstar potential. But, for some reason, they just haven’t put him in the category of elite. Forsberg was placed at 43 on

NHL Network’s top 50 players

list going into the season. Here is what the NHL Network had to say about him.

Don’t get me wrong, you could argue making the top 50 is considered elite. I would venture to say top 25 is elite. To make it in the top 25, you would be considered better than the best player on at least 6 NHL teams (31 total teams minus 25). In reality, teams like the Pittsburgh Penguins who have both Evgeni Malkin and Sidney Crosby, have multiple elite players on their team. So, the numbers would sway to even more than six teams. I believe it’s closer to 10 teams that wouldn’t have a player in the top 25. You play every team at least twice in the season based off of scheduling rules. Since that is the case, if you have a player in the top 25, he is going to the best player on the entire ice during at least 20 games a season. That is elite.

So, how does Forsberg rank against other elite players in the league? In the same time span used before, here are some names Forsberg outranks in goals scored: Corey Perry, Brandon Saad, James Neal, Mark Scheifele, Jonathan Toews, Phil Kessel, Matt Duchene, Johnny Gaudreau, Zach Parise, and many more. He’s tough too. Only one other player has played more games than Forsberg in that time, which lends to his durability. If you have an elite player, he needs to be on the ice as much as possible.

What Makes This Year Different

Obviously, we are very early on in this season. However, Forsberg is having the best start to a season in his entire career. So far, Forsberg has four goals and two assists through four games. 12 games is the quickest he’s ever scored four goals. That was in his exceptional rookie campaign of 2014. How long did it take him last year? Thirty-one games…Thirty. One. Of course, after that he went on a tear to end the season with over 30 goals. Doing so, he became the first Nashville Predators player ever with back-to-back 30 goal seasons.

He had 27 goals and 13 assists for a total of 40 points in the final 51 games last season. That is good for 0.53 goals per game and 0.78 points per game. Those numbers would be career bests if he managed to spread them out over an entire season. Forsberg, undoubtedly, has carried the momentum into this season.

So far, Forsberg has shown that he is only getting better. He has played with a hunger for the puck. Gone are the days where he sags behind or finds that little crevice of ice to stand in waiting for a perfect pass to slam the puck into the back of the net. Forsberg is going and taking the puck for himself. He is crashing for every rebound. His Corsi and Fenwick percentages this season are the best of his career. Granted, it is a short sample.

If Forsberg can continue his current level of play, he will score 45 goals this season. Meanwhile, Sidney Crosby led the league in goals last season with 44. A Rocket Richard trophy would confirm Forsberg’s elite level of play. Forsberg is an elite scorer and an elite player all around.

The Nashville Predators have more eyes watching them than ever before in their history. Filip Forsberg is going to have an incredible year. Forsberg will get an all-star vote and be in the running for the Hart Memorial Trophy as MVP of the league. Because of that, the NHL Network will rank Forsberg in the top 25 players going into next season, finally giving him the elite ranking he deserves.