Cage Match: Jonathan Huberdeau vs. Filip Forsberg

Rick Roos

2017-11-29

A pair of left wingers face off in this week's Cage Match.

With each passing week of the 2017-18 season, we see more and more hot starters move back toward expected scoring rates. This week’s battle is between Jonathan Huberdeau and Filip Forsberg, who so far have kept their scoring paces above career best numbers. Is what we’re seeing merely an extended stretch of unsustainable higher scoring, or have either or both officially entered new fantasy territory? Cage Match is here to find out!

Career Path and Contract Status

Huberdeau, 24, was selected third overall in 2011 and somewhat surprisingly returned to play in two more seasons of junior hockey. He then jumped directly to the NHL in the lockout-shortened 2012-13 campaign, finishing with 31 points to tie for the league lead in rookie scoring. Amazingly, next season he managed two fewer points in 21 more games, for a huge step back. From there, however, he’s seen his 82-game scoring pace increase with each season, from 56 points in 2014-15, to 63 in 2015-16, to 68 last season despite missing more than half the campaign while recovering from a major injury he suffered in the preseason.

Forsberg, 23, was selected 11th overall in 2012. Despite his draft pedigree and solid subsequent play in Sweden, Forsberg was flipped by Washington to Nashville in a 2013 deadline trade that brought the Capitals Martin Erat and Michael Latta. The lopsidedness of the deal wasn’t immediately apparent, as during Forsberg’s first two seasons of limited NHL action he posted a mere six points in 18 games. But after Forsberg had 34 points in only 47 AHL games in 2013-14, he was firmly in Nashville’s plans for 2014-15, during which he exploded for 63 points. Between that season and the last two, he’s finished with 26-33 goals and 27-37 assists in three straight seasons; but he’s done so with extended hot and cold streaks that have frustrated poolies and made some question whether he has the consistency to be a productive player from Game 1 through Game 82.

Huberdeau is inked through 2022-23 on a deal that carries an $5.9M annual cap hit, while Forsberg’s cap number is nearly identical ($6M per campaign) but slated to end a season earlier.

Ice Time

Now that we’re more than 25% into 2017-18, starting this week I’m including data for 2017-18 (in this case, current through 11/26) and removing 2013-14 stats.

Season

Total Ice Time per game

(rank among team’s forwards)

PP Ice Time per game