Frozen Pool Forensices: Filip Forsberg

by Cam Robinson on February 26, 2016

Filip Forsberg has had an up-and-down sophomore season, what should we expect going forward?

For a period of time, the NHL trade deadline was a whimsical event that fans looked forward to all year. Some even going as far as hamming up symptoms of their favourite illness a day or two before to ensure a warm cozy spot on the couch to watch the madness unfold. That couldn’t have just been me, right?

The salary cap has all but screeched the classic ‘hockey trade’ to a grinding halt in recent years, and any fan with a working heart must feel for those helpless and ill-fated commentators who spend 12-plus hours eeking out things to say about Marcel Goc in exchange for a third and a fifth or Mike Commodore for a conditional seventh.

However, back in 2013, fans were rewarded with a head-scratching deal that saw the Washington Capitals trade their most recent first round pick (11th overall in 2012) Filip Forsberg to the Nashville Predators in exchange for Martin Erat and Michael Latta. Even at the time, this trade looked lopsided. A top prospect for a secondary scorer and a depth forward, and it wasn’t even as if the Caps were primed for a long playoff run. They were a middling team and of course were subjected to a first round exit at the hands of the New York Rangers.

For Nashville it was a coup and is paying off more and more each day. Last season Forsberg stormed out ahead of the Calder Trophy race with 35 points through his first 40 games, only to see his production slow just enough to fall out of the finalist’s bracket. 26 goals and 63 points remain a great accomplishment for the now 21-year-old. He also displayed his high intelligence, strong two-way play and silky hands throughout the team’s first round playoff exit, scoring four goals and totalling six points in six games.

The 2015-16 season has been an up-and-down campaign for the Swedish sophomore. He’s alternated strong and weak months starting with eight points in his 10 October games, followed but just five points through 13 November contests. Currently he is in the midst of his best month yet, scoring nine goals and 12 points in the 11 February games.

Using Dobber’s Player Profile, we see that Forsberg currently sits with 23 goals and 43 points through 61 games – just shy of the pace he set last year with some added goal scoring. His recent natural hat-trick against the lowly Maple Leafs stands as a Predators’ record for the youngest player to record a trick – he did it in the first 25 minutes of the game to boot. His Player Profile also shows that Forsberg is HOT with 12 points in his last nine games. This new feature on the site is great as you can dig through all the HOT and Cold players throughout the league.

 

A look at the top goal scorers over the past month using Dobber’s Report Generator:

Top 10 Goal Scoring Categories

All situational strength goals and game winning goals.

Rank

Name

Pos

Age

Yrs

Team

GR

GP

EV

PP

SH

GW

Total

1

MARCHAND,BRAD

C

27

5

BOS

21

14

7

3

1

2

12

2

OVECHKIN,ALEXANDER

L

30

9

WSH

21

12

7

4

0

1

11

3

SIMMONDS,WAYNE

R

27

6

PHI

21

14

4

5

0

1

9

4

CROSBY,SIDNEY

C

28

9

PIT

22

12

6

3

0

2

9

5

FORSBERG,FILIP

L

21

2

NSH

20

13

6

2

1

1

9

6

BURAKOVSKY,ANDRE

L

21

0

WSH

21

13

8

0

0

0

8

7

ERIKSSON,LOUI

L

30

8

BOS

21

14

8

0

0

3

8

8

STONE,MARK

R

23

2

OTT

20

12

6

2

0

0

8

9

EBERLE,JORDAN

C

25

4

EDM

20

11

5

3

0

2

8

10

TAVARES,JOHN

C

25

5

NYI

22

12

5

2

0

1

7

Forsberg is pacing better than last season in a few other categories as well: his 184 shots on goal represent a slight increase, as does his 12.5 shooting percentage which is up from the 11 percent he converted on during his rookie campaign. He is doing this while seeing slightly less power play time (2:38 this year compared to 2:50 last year) but producing at a greater clip with the man advantage – 16 PPP’s in 61 games compared to his 19 total from last year.

One would assume that the addition of blossoming number one centre, Ryan Johansen would act as a major boon to Forsberg and his future as a top line scoring winger. However, using Dobber’s Line Combination Tool, we see that over the past 10 games, the two young players have yet to see much time together at five-on-five or on the man-advantage. Instead Forsberg has been performing at his high level next to Mike Ribeiro and Craig Smith on the second line.

Games between 2016-02-04 and 2016-02-23

Frequency

Strength

Line Combination

46.32%

EV

FORSBERG,FILIP – RIBEIRO,MIKE – SMITH,CRAIG

13.62%

EV

ARVIDSSON,VIKTOR – FORSBERG,FILIP – RIBEIRO,MIKE

10.49%

SH

FORSBERG,FILIP – JARNKROK,CALLE

3.68%

PP

FISHER,MIKE – FORSBERG,FILIP – SMITH,CRAIG

2.04%

EV

FISHER,MIKE – FORSBERG,FILIP – JARNKROK,CALLE

1.77%

EV

FORSBERG,FILIP – NEAL,JAMES – RIBEIRO,MIKE

While Forsberg may not be seeing excessive time on the ice during even strength or with the man-advantage, his deployment into offensive situations is practically unheard of. So far this season, Forsberg has started 72.5 percent of his even-strength shifts in the offensive zone. That’s behind only Artemi Panarin and line mates Smith and Ribeiro for full time NHL players. You can’t ask for much more than that when it comes to receiving plum assignments. Even at his age, he is leaned on heavily to produce for his team and coach Peter Laviolette wants to make sure he has every opportunity to do so.

Fantasy owners should be pleased by the deployment and production that Forsberg has seen this season. While his consistency has been questionable at points, this is nothing new for a young player still trying to find his game and building strength. It will be very interesting to see the contract that Forsberg signs this summer as he reaches restricted free agency, as he projects to become a force in the Western Conference during his mid-twenties and will couple well alongside Johansen as the two develop into legitimate offensive stars; something the Predators have lacked for so long. For now, Forsberg is producing at an unsustainable clip so ride the wave while you can. Nashville certainly will be as they hope to power through the gauntlet that is the Central division.

 

Projected point-per-game pace for the remaining schedule: 0.7 – 0.8

 

Thanks for reading and feel free to follow me on Twitter @CrazyJoeDavola3 where I mostly retweet other people’s witty thoughts and occasionally add my own.