Lost in the carnage of last night’s Maple Leafs’ performance were another two points, a goal and an assist, for Predators rookie Filip Forsberg.
Forsberg now leads all NHL rookies with 22 points, almost double the total of Calgary’s Johnny Gaudreau (13), currently in second.
While much of the focus surrounding Forsberg’s success has fallen on the Washington Capitals’ decision in April of 2013 to trade the 11th overall pick in the 2012 draft (they had reportedly been “souring” on him), it’s not like he joined the Preds and immediately started piling up the points.
“Everybody gets to the NHL when they’re ready to get to the NHL, when they’re good enough,” GM David Poile said, per the Canadian Press. “We probably forced him. I think he was just too young. How many times do we need to realize that these guys really benefit from coming over to North America, going to Milwaukee, going through that process?”
We’re certainly not saying that Forsberg needing time in the AHL justifies the Caps’ decision to trade him for Martin Erat. In fact, in hindsight, it makes them look extremely impatient. Some players — Detroit’s Gustav Nyquist comes to mind — require even more time in the minors.
But it’s a good reminder that identifying and drafting good talent is only the first step. Developing them the right way is equally as important.
And for Forsberg, that development is an ongoing process.
“He’s a good young player that’s finding his way, he’s done a nice job at the start of the season,” coach Peter Laviolette said.
Translation: let’s pump the brakes a bit. It’s only been 18 games.
Defensemen Mat Clark has been recalled by the Anaheim Ducks from the American Hockey League’s Norfolk Admirals.
The call-up likely has to do with the uncertainty surrounding defensemen Francois Beauchemin (flu) and Cam Fowler (lower body).
Fowler was injured Friday night following a hit on Martin Erat. The 22-year-old appeared to injure his left knee or leg.
Clark, 24, has two assists and 21 penalty minutes in 11 games with the Norfolk Admirals this season. He appeared in two games with the Ducks during the 2011-12 season and had a minus-2 rating. Clark was the Ducks second-round pick (37th overall) in 2009.
The Ducks also sent defensive prospect Shea Theodore back to the Seattle Thunderbirds of the Western Hockey League. The 19-year-old had three goals and two assists in five games with the Admirals. Theodore was the Ducks’ first-round selection (26th overall) in 2013. He has yet to make his NHL debut.
Anaheim plays host to the Vancouver Canucks tonight.
Anaheim Ducks defenseman Cam Fowler left tonight’s game against the Arizona Coyotes in the third period following a hit on Martin Erat.
Fowler appeared to injury his left leg or knee on the play.
When the Nashville Predators acquired prospect Filip Forsberg from the Washington Capitals in April 2013 in exchange for Martin Erat and Michael Latta, the hope was that he could play a valuable role on a team lacking when it came to top-end skilled forwards. It’s taken some time, but Forsberg is starting to look like he can be that guy.
He’s certainly gotten off to a strong start with three assists in two contests and while that’s an obviously small sample size, the 20-year-old’s outburst hasn’t come out of nowhere.
“He’s been really consistent since rookie camp started,” Predators coach Peter Laviolette told the Nashville Post. “I thought he was a top player every game in rookie camp. He was a real positive offensive player for us in the exhibition season and, really, I think that has just continued.
“He appears to be strong in those battles. He’s got a tremendous awareness about him and an ability to find time and space and make plays. … He’s been consistent with his offense and his two-way play and his offense since he got here at rookie camp.”
All the same, the big question now how Forsberg will respond to a full campaign. He’s certainly been a big part of the Predators’ early success and to some extent, the team’s fortunes this season will likely be tied to him.
Filip Forsberg has scored two thirds of the Preds’ preseason goals
Not sure if Washington Capitals fans want to hear this, but Nashville’s Filip Forsberg scored his second goal of the preseason last night in a 1-0 victory over Tampa Bay.
The 20-year-old Swede — a forward the Caps originally drafted 11th overall in 2012, before trading him to Nashville for Martin Erat — has been skating on the Preds’ top line with James Neal and Mike Ribeiro.
“They are probably the two most skilled guys on the team, and they give me a lot of time to make some plays,” Forsberg said, per The Tennessean. “It takes a lot of pressure off me, too, because I know they’ll do their job and they’re really good at it.”
Forsberg was recently ranked No. 12 on NHL.com’s list of top 60 prospects. While he admits there’s “a long way to walk still,” he concedes he’s “pretty happy so far.”
Forsberg also scored Tuesday in a 4-2 loss to the Lightning.
Related: Forsberg named rookie tourney MVP