We’re now mere days away from the ever exciting NHL Entry Draft. One of the names that consistently shows up in that group of the top 3-4 players is 6’2 power forward Filip Forsberg. The 17 year old Swede is touted as the most complete player in the draft, offering a superb package of size, skill, defensive instincts and competitive spirit. It is unlikely that he will still be around by the 5th selection, but stranger things have happened. Any team selecting Forsberg as early as 2nd overall could find themselves with a tremendous bargain in two or three years time.
The Basics: All-around winger/center for Leksand, 8 goals and 9 assists for 17 points in 43 games played.
Strengths: If you’re looking for a high end power forward type, Forsberg’s name should be at the top of your list. He’s big, knows how use his size effectively, and will go to war for you along the boards. NHL Central Scouting’s European Director Goran Stubb compared Forsberg to Anaheim forward Corey Perry for his competitiveness and willingness to drive to the net. He also possesses excellent goal scoring instincts highlighted by a wonderful shot. He hits, he plays on the powerplay, the penalty, and blocks shots. There is a lot to like here. Forsberg could be an absolute force when it’s all said and done.
Weaknesses: Some have questioned Forsberg’s long-term upside down the middle, arguing that he profiles best along the wing due to his average skating and playmaking ability. At the NHL level he may be one of those players that you need to surround with talent in order to really maximize his potential. He doesn’t quite have the offensive instincts or creativity to excel on his own, but rather is most effective as a crash and finish type of player.
Draft Day Outlook: Barring a big surprise, expect Forsberg to slot in somewhere between picks 2-4. If he is there on the board at 5th overall, you can bet your bottom dollar the Maple Leafs will take a good long look. At just 17 years old and still having quite a bit of hockey to learn, Forsberg likely won’t be making an impact until 2013 or even 2014, but he will certainly be worth waiting for. We’re talking about a potential 30+ goal scoring power forward with a nose for the net, similar to a Gabriel Landeskog. Sounds good to me.