Nashville Predators: Take Back Your Crown Filip Forsberg

It’s now well over halfway through the 2019-2020 season for the Nashville Predators, and in terms of the JOFA line, it’s been a disappointment. 

Over this next three part series of articles, lets take a look at some high and low points for the JoFA men, and try to grasp some reality on the struggle this season has brought them and the Nashville Predators.

Over the past few years, when anyone who had any knowledge of the Nashville Predators thought of the individual players, they always thought of Ryan Johansen, Filip Forsberg, and Viktor Arvidsson.

This season, however, has brought the same names to mind, but in a complete different directions of thought.

We’re going to look at one of the players who hasn’t performed to his past standards, and could definitely bring more to the table for the Predators. Bare with me, I personally love him as much as the next fan, but this needs to be addressed.

“Prince” Filip Forsberg

At one point in his career (which was just a couple seasons ago), the Swedish left winger was a absolute beauty on the ice. Forsberg is the kind of winger that you didn’t, and honestly still don’t, want to go against one-on-one.

He has the IQ to see the play before it happens, and has the hands and skating abilities to deke past just about any defender.

If you’re a goalie, you best hold the crease strong and block your holes. Forsberg can snipe from nearly any point, and has puck handling abilities to be able to move a goalie in any direction he wants to be able to.

This is why he has the infamous nickname “Prince” Forsberg. He’s just 47 goals behind David Legwand on the franchise’s all-time list. He could realistically become the top goal scorer in franchise history next season.

Now I know what you’re all thinking; “why is he not producing points like he should be, and why is he looking so depleted on the ice?”

Honestly, Forsberg is not terribly far off from his career averages for a season, and with plenty of games left at hand for the Nashville Predators.

Overall, Forsberg is the guy you want on your team, and the guy that you don’t want to play against in terms of offensive attack.

Sure, he hasn’t been the glorious “prince” that we all know and expect, but he remains a great asset to the team offensively and can go on a breakout at any moment.

Before I go any further with thoughts and problems for Forsberg, let’s compare some stats that were provided by Hockey Reference.com

  • 2019-2020 Regular season: 55 games, 18 goals,24 assists, 42 points, 55.7 Corsi %
  • 2015-2016 Overall: 82 games, 33 goals, 31 assists, 64 points, 56.2 Corsi %

The 2015-2016 season to me was his best season yet, but even compared to last season, it just doesn’t seem like we are watching the Forsberg we know or expect play.

Compared  to what I consider to be his greatest season, Forsberg is on track to definitely make an impact for the team this year. Before you roast me for this, I can hear it now, “it’s Filip Forsberg  we are talking about here! He is washed out, trade him, he is done!”.

I agree, he should be at a better stance by now, but there are still plenty of games left at hand, and with the team being as unpredictable as they are this season, let’s hold off on the public stoning.

It’s not just Forsberg that’s struggling, we’ll get to Johansen and Arvidsson later on this this three-part series.

The whole JoFA players are slacking this year compared to the bottom lines of the team, like the third line. You would almost expect goals from the JoFA players nearly every game.

The JoFA line has just started being reunited again in recent games. For much of the season there has been constant line shuffling and not a lot of chemistry being build in return.

It’s understandably disheartening to see Forsberg create turnovers and careless mistakes that are costing the team penalties and washed out power play goals.

Expectations are rightfully through the roof for a ultra talented player like Forsberg, so that’s why there’s been disappointment and criticism. Obviously he’s still arguably the best player on this team, even in a “down season”.

One step at a time

Slowly but surely, Forsberg has started to show hopeful signs of the prince that we all know. He’s had some bad luck as well, and his shooting percentage is below his career average of 12.3.

There’s still been recent examples of his insane puck handling skills, like the Michigan Lacrosse style goal last month against Edmonton’s goalie Mike Smith:

Not many NHL players have been able to pull off a goal like that, but those are the goals that we expect out of Forsberg.

Even though we are at a crossroad with No.9, there’s hope for the rest of the season with him. Each game we’re seeing more breakaways, greater shots on net and him impacting the game in other ways.

But with the rest of the JoFA trio not producing nearly as much as they should, is it going to be enough to comfortably say that these three should be paired as a top line like the good ole’ days?

I have personally tried in every way to support the JoFA boys by giving excuses on their behalf. It has gone on for too long this season though, and accountability has to be taken into effect.

Forsberg is starting to look like his old self again and can finish these 20-plus games out strong and be a force in the playoffs.

The playoff bubble Nashville Predators need the other JoFA guys to join in and create a dominate line again. They do that, and they should easily cruise into a playoff spot down the stretch.

 

 

 

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