Filip Forsberg vs. Evgeny Kuznetsov

Rick Roos

2015-08-19

Who is the better player to own in your keeper league – Filip Forsberg or Evgeny Kuznetsov? Rick Roos investigates…

Keeping with my post-tournament run of covering younger players, this week’s combatants are Filip Forsberg and Evgeni Kuznetsov. And just like last week, we’re faced with trying to figure out how things will unfold for one player who started 2014-15 red hot but cooled (Forsberg) and another (Kuznetsov) who emerged from 2014-15 unspectacularly, but looked on the cusp of excellence by season’s end. Who’ll produce better in 2015-16? Cage Match starts now!

 

Career Path and Contract Status

Kuznetsov was selected 26th overall by the Caps in 2010. But within a year he was already a massively hyped NHL prospect, what with posting 32 points in 44 KHL games as an 18/19 year old. And things only improved from there (85 points in 100 games over his next two KHL campaigns, 24 points in 14 WJC games, and seven points in 13 World Championships contests), leaving as the only question when Kuznetsov would jump to the NHL. That ended up happening in March 2014; and although Kuznetsov was a bit raw at times, he showed he wasn’t out of place, on his way to nine points in 17 contests.

Expectations naturally were high for 2014-15; but Kuznetsov struggled early on, with no more than six points in any of the first five months of the season. Then something clicked, and he posted 13 points in 19 games to finish the season. And although his production slid to only seven points in 14 playoff games, that included two eye opening multi-point efforts.

Forsberg was drafted two years later (11th overall), also by the Caps, who then shockingly flipped him to Nashville at the 2013 deadline for Martin Erat. Although Erat’s tenure in Washington was just okay, Forsberg wasn’t exactly doing much for Nashville early on (18 games during 2012-13 and 2013-14, with six total points with a collective -13 rating).

All that changed in 2014-15, as Forsberg stormed out of the gate with 38 points in 39 games. But since he finished the year with four points in four April games, that means there was a stretch of only 21 points in 39 games during the first few months of 2016, leaving poolies wondering what to project for Forsberg this season.

Kuznetsov will make $3M per season in 2015-16 and 2016-17, while Forsberg will complete his ELC in 2015-16, with a $0.89M cap hit and $1.46M AAV.

 

Ice Time

Because neither played even 20 games in 2013-14, I’ll only include 2014-15 data in all tables.

 

Season

Total Ice Time per game (rank among team’s forwards)

PP Ice Time per game (rank among team’s forwards)

SH Ice Time per game (r