In a span of nine days, the Nashville Predators have wins over four different division opponents with a scoring margin of 19-10. Their overall win streak has reached five games, with Filip Forsberg being the engine behind it all.
Forsberg is on a historic point pace for Nashville Predators history, tying Steve Sullivan for the most points through the team’s first 20 games in franchise history:
What Forsberg is accomplishing after coming back from a concussion in February is simply remarkable. To think about how physically brutal the sport of hockey can be, and Forsberg is meanwhile performing at what one of the highest efficiencies in franchise history.
On top of that, there was no shortage of criticism and skepticism regarding Forsberg and the contract he received from outgoing General Manager David Poile in the summer of 2022. Fans wanted him back, no doubt, but were nervous about another long-term contract blowing up in the franchise’s face.
Forsberg is Performing at Historic Level in Nashville Predators History
Forsberg has quelled those fears, at least for now. He is unequivocally living up to his $68M contract that won’t expire until 2030. He’s a lifetime Nashville Predator with a No Move Clause and a No Trade List that will go into effect in 2028.
Now it would be off base for me to say that Forsberg is doing all of this on his own, because he’s certainly not. I mentioned in the lead up to the Winnipeg Jets matchup that the Predators are finding their “secret sauce” and it’s because everyone on this roster is pulling the rope in the right direction.
However, every great team needs that one superstar that pushes the team every night. Some could argue that player is still the Captain, Roman Josi, and I wouldn’t push back too hard on that.
Others might say it’s Ryan O’Reilly. The mentor on the ice that also produces efficiently with 18 points, good for 2nd on the team behind Forsberg. The match between Forsberg and O’Reilly is paying dividends for both players, and General Manager Barry Trotz deserves enormous credit for identifying this in free agency.
Leading up to this season in 2023-24, the main catalyst to any Predators success was usually Juuse Saros. And it still can be. He was certainly a main force behind the Predators getting their 5th-straight win overall to beat the Jets 3-2 on Sunday.
All of those are respectable options for who is the main catalyst to the Nashville Predators right now, but I’m actually sticking with Forsberg. He’s the franchise players. He’s the white whale for this franchise when it comes to having an elite scoring forward that was acquired in one of the biggest highway robbery trades in NHL history (Sorry, Caps fans).
What I commend most about Forsberg’s season so far through 20 games is his drive and determination. You can clearly see through his level of play that he’s nowhere near satisfied with what he has accomplished for the Predators, despite being the franchise’s all-time leading goal scorer.
You see this drive I’m talking about in this highlight of Forsberg getting the Predators on the board first in their 8-3 win over the Blues. Hunting loose pucks in close. Showing he’s not just a flashy wrist shot goal scorer:
Still in his Prime, Forsberg is Actually in Rare Company in NHL History & Still Climbing
Forsberg is now at 250 NHL goals for his career, which is more rare of company than many of us actually realize. I stumbled across this interesting stat from Steve Dangle showing how many players have achieved 200-plus goals and 300-plus goals.
Less than 10 percent of every player to ever skate in the NHL achieved 200 goals or more, and Forsberg is 50 away from 300 and will almost certainly reach that milestone probably at some point in 2024-25.
Forsberg’s shot totals are way up, showing that will and determination to be more aggressive under Head Coach Andrew Brunette‘s highly-touted system. Getting Brunette as the Head Coach to take over for John Hynes was like finding a gallon of cold water coming out of a two day hike in the desert.
Perhaps Forsberg tails off a bit and hits a rut. It’s certainly a possibility, but what we’re seeing from Forsberg suggests he can sustain this. Mainly because he’s playing in a system that allows him to use his top skills, he’s playing alongside two crafty veterans in Ryan O’Reilly and Gustav Nyquist, and he’s one of the top shot producers in the NHL at 26.26 Shot Attempts Per 60 (3rd in NHL per MoneyPuck).
Finally, when Forsberg isn’t scoring goals, he is at least facilitating the offense with elite passing. Let’s not gloss over that he has 13 assists to go with his 11 goals. A balanced offensive playmaker who also has 28 hits and six blocks. A 200-foot player as they like to say.
To wrap this all up, the best part might be that Forsberg isn’t even 30-years-old yet. I’ve been guilty of sometimes forgetting how young Forsberg still is because he’s been around so long.
Forsberg is turning “Filbruary” into an entire season long celebration right now.