The Not-so-Secrets to Nashville’s Success: Filip Forsberg

USATSI_8182509_154158418_lowresThere’s another Forsberg making it happen in the National Hockey League and his success hasn’t come a moment too soon for the Nashville Predators. One Filip Forsberg, who has thus far proven to be a real steal from the Washington Capitals, has been turning heads and putting the biscuit in the basket to the tune of 20 points in 16 games thus far.

The 20-year-old Forsberg was initially drafted by the Capitals in the 2012 NHL Entry Draft. In development camp, he was inked to a three year entry level contract and seemed set to crack the line-up. Alas, he was returned on loan to the Leksands IF hockey club in his native Sweden and put up enough points to guide the team to a promotion in the Swedish Hockey League.

When it was time to return to the NHL, young Forsberg was traded by the Capitals to the Predators in exchange for Martin Erat and Michael Latta. At the end of the 2012-2013 NHL season, he became the youngest player to suit up in Nashville and in October of 2013 he scored his first goal.

Last season, Forsberg had a goal and five points in 13 games. And now he leads all rookies in points, goals, assists, plus-minus, shots, and power play points. What’s more, in most categories he leads the next-best player by a fair margin.

His 20 points, for instance, are eight ahead of Calgary’s Johnny Gadreau and Washington’s Andre Burakovsky. And his plus-19 rating is out of the park altogether, with only Los Angeles’ Tanner Pearson coming close with a plus-12.

Forsberg is the best forward on the Predators thus far this season and the best rookie in the NHL thus far this season. He’s on his way to the Calder. He’s enjoyed a seven-game point streak. He is a critical component of Nashville’s stellar top line, which includes James Neal and Mike Ribeiro and has been outscoring the opposition 13-1.

Without Forsberg, it’s hard to imagine where the Predators would be at this point. He’s certainly been a catalyst for some great things and, along with new bench boss Peter Laviolette, he’s been a key piece of the puzzle. They finally look like a club with scoring potential and that’s a dangerous thing given how solid the rest of the roster is.

So what’s next for Forsberg? Barring incident, this looks to be one heck of a campaign for the non-relative of Peter Forsberg. He’s part of one of the most dynamic lines in hockey and he’s making the Capitals kick themselves. What more can you ask for?

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