Filip Forsberg could be on the verge of a monster season for the Predators

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This is part of Nashville Predators day at PHT…

When looking at the 2016-17 Nashville Predators the first thing that is going to stand out is obviously their defense.

It might be the best unit in the NHL, it has one of the games biggest superstars, and it is going to be the foundation of a team that should seriously compete for the Stanley Cup.

But the forwards on this team aren’t exactly lacking in the talent department, either.

Between Filip Forsberg and James Neal they had a pair of 30-goal scorers a season ago, while Ryan Johansen is one of the games best young players at center.

Forsberg is the guy that really makes this group work, and based on what he has done over his first two full seasons in the league should be on the verge of taking another big step in his development and taking his game to an even higher level.

Since becoming a regular in the Predators’ lineup two years ago, Forsberg is 14th in the NHL in goals scored and 26th in total points, clearly making him one of the most productive players in the NHL. Those numbers are even more impressive when you consider he is just now entering his age 22 season. He is one of only two players in the top-15 in goals scored over the last two years, and one of only four players in the top-30 in total points, to be under the age of 24.

The age thing is what really drives home just how impressive his production has been so far in his young career.

Over the past 20 years he is one of just 13 players to have two seasons of at least 25 goals and 60 total points before turning 22. The other players on the list are Steven Stamkos, Sidney Crosby, Alex Ovechkin, Marian Gaborik, Patrick Kane, Anze Kopitar, Evgeni Malkin, John Tavares, Jonathan Toews, Ilya Kovalchuk, Sean Monahan and … Jeff Friesen (Yes. Jeff Friesen).

Being included in that group should give you an idea as to just how productive Forsberg has already been and the type of potential he might have in the coming seasons. As that list of names shows, players that are this productive at this age generally go on to become superstar type players in the NHL.¬†Friesen is obviously the exception on that list but it’s not like he was a bad player (he was usually good for 25 goals and 50 points every year at the height of the dead puck era … that’s a pretty good player).

Historically, scorers tend to hit their peak levels of production between the ages of 23 and 26, and they usually start to take big steps forward when they reach the point where Forsberg is right now. If you just look at the 12 previous players on the aforementioned list, nine of them went on to average more than 0.95 points per game (that is 77 points over 82 games — a level that would have been top-10 in the NHL this past season) in their age 22 season.

The only ones that did not reach that level were Gaborik (his age 22 season was cancelled because of the 2004 lockout — he came back at age 23 and average 1.01 points per game) and Friesen.

Monahan, like Forsberg, is only entering his age 22 season this year.

Given what Forsberg has already done in his career, his own individual talent, as well the talent he will have around him, he has the potential to be one of the top scorers in the NHL as soon as this season.