Nashville Predators: What’s Plaguing Filip Forsberg’s Lack of Goal Scoring

NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE - OCTOBER 12: Filip Forsberg #9 of the Nashville Predators shoots the puck against the Seattle Kraken during the third period at Bridgestone Arena on October 12, 2023 in Nashville, Tennessee. Nashville defeats Seattle 3-0. (Photo by Brett Carlsen/Getty Images)
NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE - OCTOBER 12: Filip Forsberg #9 of the Nashville Predators shoots the puck against the Seattle Kraken during the third period at Bridgestone Arena on October 12, 2023 in Nashville, Tennessee. Nashville defeats Seattle 3-0. (Photo by Brett Carlsen/Getty Images) /
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We’ve finally reached that point where it’s time to start wondering what in the hell is going on with Filip Forsberg, the Nashville Predators’ all-time leading goal scorer who has found the back of the net just once in 2023-24.

The latest goose egg from Forsberg comes in another frustrating loss for the Predators where they had a chance to go seize the game midway through, and then just came up completely flat.

In those moments, you need your star players to go take that game for you. Josi notched a really pretty power play goal for only his second goal of the season, but once again Forsberg was largely irrelevant in terms of actually scoring.

To Forsberg’s credit, he did tack on another assist to give him eight in 10 games, but his downright criminal 2.4 shooting percentage on 41 SOG has to be in his head.

Forsberg is in the Proverbial “Hockey Desert” when it comes to Scoring

Among players with at least one goal scored and 100 minutes of ice time, Forsberg has the lowest shooting percentage in the NHL right now. To break it down even further, Forsberg has 82 total shot attempts, with 15 of those missing the net entirely and 26 of those getting blocked.

What has to be most frustrating for Forsberg is he is a clear outlier when it comes to players who are among the best at Expected Goals. Forsberg’s Per 60 Expected Goals is in the same territory as players such as John Tavares, Jonathan Marchessault, Brad Marchand and Leon Draisaitl, but unlike these guys, Forsberg can’t finish with actual goals on the scoreboard.


Now, to play devil’s advocate, I know what some of you might be thinking; Forsberg has nine points in 10 games, so why should we be worried? That’s pretty good, right? Well, yeah if he was a middle six forward making $2 to $3M then yes I would wholeheartedly agree.

We’re 10 games in. If this trend for Forsberg were to continue deep into November then we have serious problems. It isn’t sustainable for the Predators to rely on depth scoring without Forsberg actually being one of the team’s top goal scorers.

Forsberg has to stick with the game plan and stay aggressive. He’s been around long enough to know that sometimes you go through these scoring droughts, and then just like that it can dramatically swing back in your direction. He’s just too damn talented for it not to eventually.

The overall sentiment in the Predators locker room is leaning towards the “trust the process” narrative, as team reporter Emma Lingan shared on Friday leading up to their matchup with the Edmonton Oilers on Saturday:

Cleaning up the little things is certainly a major need from everyone on the Predators, including Forsberg. It’s pretty strange to see Forsberg already with 10 penalty minutes, which is second-highest on the team. That’s a pace that would easily be a career high if it continues. He only had 20 PIM in 50 games last year.

Nashville Predators Offense Plagued by Missed Opportunities

New coach, new playbook, new players around him and probably shaking off some rust from being out since February from a concussion. And Forsberg is still making impacts elsewhere. He’s not a total ghost for this team, but his bread and butter is scoring goals.

There is a very noticeable difference in how this team operates now under Head Coach Andrew Brunette. They rush the puck up quickly, look for quick breakout passes and don’t waste time counter attacking.

The downside to this offensive philosophy is you leave yourself vulnerable on the back end, and your timing and passing has to be on point. Frankly speaking, there’s been inconsistency in that regard and it has cost them in their last two losses to Vancouver and Seattle.

The scoring has dried up a bit in the last few games for the Predators. Colton Sissons and Thomas Novak lead the team with five goals. Only three players have scored more than two goals, and the overall team shooting percentage is below average at 8.7 percent. So it’s an overall theme that’s plaguing the team of just not getting rewarded with actual goals.

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It’s a matter of time before Forsberg breaks out of this and starts seeing the puck beat the goaltender more regularly. Not counting the pandemic shortened seasons and his injury season this past year, Forsberg has never finished below 26 goals in a season. He can, and I believe he will, turn this around.

Without the top level goal scoring from Forsberg, I don’t see a path forward for the Nashville Predators to return to the playoffs in 2024. However, if he can get back to what he does best on a regular basis, then the Predators will starting winning some of these games where the team felt they played well enough to get the two points.