How quickly is Filip Forsberg going to shake the rust off from a nasty head injury that forced him to miss the remainder of 2022-23 for the Nashville Predators?
Now as one of the very few veteran forwards left on the Nashville Predators from just two seasons ago when he exploded for 84 points and is the franchise’s all-time leader in goal with 239.
Philip Tomasino, Thomas Novak and Cody Glass also made their Predators debuts that season, and even Trenin was playing in just his third year in the NHL. After that small group, the veteran forwards have changed with Ryan O’Reilly, Gustav Nyquist and Denis Gurianov.
All of this to say that Forsberg is one of the few veterans left that didn’t get traded out of the forward core through the 2023 trade deadline or lost in free agency.
It leaves a lot of questions about just what exactly this team is going to look like, but we at least think we know what we’re getting this year with Forsberg, or do we?
The 2021-22 Version of Forsberg Can Make the Nashville Predators a Scary Team
If Forsberg remains healthy and available throughout the rest of last season, it’s fair to think that the Nashville Predators would’ve made up the three-point deficit to the Winnipeg Jets in the standings and made the playoffs again.
Even if the playoffs happened with Forsberg healthy, we probably were in for a similar sad rerun of being exposed in the playoffs. But that’s why John Hynes is no longer the Head Coach of the Nashville Predators.
Losing that scoring punch from Forsberg was difficult to overcome, and more injuries piled on after that along with key losses at the trade deadline.
Additionally, it was wise for the Predators to keep Forsberg sidelined and give him ample time to recover from the hit and fall to the ice that involved his head and neck region in February against the Philadelphia Flyers.
With all of the focus on the newcomers in the lineup, I’m starting to shift my focus to Forsberg who is still in the prime of his career and has the abilities to give us another 80-point season.
Gentry Estes wrote for The Tennessean about the potential perfect match between Forsberg and new Head Coach Andrew Brunette’s more “enthusiastic” offensive system:
"“They will play for this guy. … They (will) have fun and enjoy the game, enjoy coming to work. That’s what I like about Andrew.” –Barry Trotz about Andrew Brunette’s System, Per The Tennessean"
With the new pieces around Forsberg, think about how much better that can make the Nashville Predators in 2023-24, and at the very least dramatically improve their offensive capabilities which were 27th in the NHL in scoring and only 10 goals ahead of the last-place Chicago Blackhawks.
Forsberg will likely play alongside newly-acquired Ryan O’Reilly on Nashville’s top line, which could be an outstanding fit to bring Forsberg back to the 80-point mark he’s only hit once in his NHL career.
Despite only playing in 50 games last season, Forsberg was second on the Predators in Expected Goals at 20.1, and just barely behind Matt Duchene. Losing him to injury for almost half the season, and now Duchene to a buyout, the Predators desperately need Forsberg to return to being a prolific goal scorer to avoid being one of the lowest-scoring teams again.
I’m fairly confident that Forsberg can have one of the best offensive years of his career in 2023-24.
I love the addition of O’Reilly for Forsberg’s game, and also believe that the continued development of the youth combined with the hiring of Head Coach Andrew Brunette is going to bring out maybe the best we’ve ever seen from Forsberg.
Although predicting Forsberg will hit 80-plus points again takes a pretty large leap of faith, I don’t think it’s outlandish to think at all that Forsberg can crack 70 points and confirm that his $68 million contract signed in 2022 was not only worth it, but even a bargain when we eventually look back on it.
Sometimes it’s easy to forget that Forsberg is just 28-years-old, about to be 29, and has a lot of hockey left in him.
As we’re all paying attention to how the newcomers and young players adapt to this changing roster, a spotlight should also be on how quickly Forsberg adapts to this Predators team he’s been a central piece of since 2014. One of the few still around from the 2017 Stanley Cup run.
Players Left from 2017 Stanley Cup Final Appearance
- Filip Forsberg
- Colton Sissons
- Roman Josi
- Juuse Saros
- Alexandre Carrier ( 2 Regular Season Games)