Sounds as though Nashville’s big trade deadline acquisition could be in the lineup sooner than expected.
Filip Forsberg — acquired last Wednesday from Washington in exchange for Martin Erat — will “hopefully” be in Nashville for Sunday’s morning skate prior to a game against the Wings, according to The Tennessean’s Josh Cooper, and may make his NHL debut the following night against Vancouver.
Forsberg, 18, was the 11th overall pick at the 2012 NHL Entry Draft. He recently completed a two-game exhibition stint with the Swedish National team, but wasn’t selected for the World Championship roster — making him eligible to head to North America.
With season-ending injuries to forwards Colin Wilson (shoulder), Paul Gaustad (shoulder) and Gabriel Bourque (knee), the Preds need help up front and would bring Forsberg directly to the NHL rather than have him play with AHL Milwaukee, according to head coach Barry Trotz.
“I would think he would come here because that would give us an extra body,” Trotz told The Tennessean. “He wouldn’t have to go to Milwaukee and then get called up or anything like that because we have two emergency recalls [Austin Watson and Daniel Bang] at forward right now.
“So we wouldn’t have to send anyone down.”
Bringing Forsberg to Nashville should be an exciting moment for the organization and fans.
He was NHL Central Scouting’s highest-rated European forward heading into the ’12 draft, and twice represented Team Sweden at the World Junior tournament, captaining the squad this year.
At the ’13 tourney, he was named to the All-Star team after losing to Team USA in the gold medal game.
Update: Since a few readers were asking in the comments section, a junior-eligible player can play five games at the NHL level before the club has to decide to keep him for the year — “burning” a year of his entry-level deal in the process — or returning him to his team.