So many questions have been asked already of the young forward. So many people have said he doesn't have the foot speed to be a top line NHL forward. Some wondered why he slid as far as he did. The rest of us just knew better. Enter Filip Forsberg, quite possibly the most promising Nashville Predator forward since the days of David Legwand and Scotty Hartnell. Granted, those two didn't pan out the way we had hoped, but they're both solid pieces for their respective teams. There are people who think something must be wrong with Filip just because Washington dumped him so soon after drafting him. I regret to inform you, that is simply not the case.
I have a real passion for Swedish Hockey Players, I think they're some of the most well rounded prospects you can find. I'm sure David Poile thinks that too, just look at how Patric Hornqvist turned out for him, or how Erik Karlsson and Daniel Alfredson turned out for the Senators, or the Sedin Twins turned out for Vancouver, or even the almighty Captain of the Red Wings in Henrik Zetterburg and their assistant captain Nicholas Kronwall. The list could go on and on, but the point I'm making is, Swedish prospects have a lot to offer. The biggest knock on the Swedish prospects is they take longer to develop, which has been proven a couple of times. I mean you do have to think they go from playing on a much wider rink, to a more compact rink.
The plus side for most of the Swedish hockey players? That extra space requires them to be better skaters, and in turn they've tended to be better at defense than their counterparts from say Russia, Germany, or even Canada in some instances. However, there is a very special plus side for our newest Predators. His experience level. At this point some of you are probably scratching your heads and wondering how an 18 (almost 19) year old kid have that much experience. Well, it's simple really...when he was 16 and 17 he was playing against grown men in one of Sweden's top leagues (if not it's very top league). He's already gotten up to a pretty hefty size, coming in at 6 ft 2 inches and already weighing 191 lbs (even though some reports have him coming in at over 200 right now). He's got good hands, and a hard shot...his game has been compared to that of Corey Perry's and a lot of people expect him to become the next big power forward in the NHL. Pair that with Colin Wilson and I would say the future is looking bright in Nashville.
Many are wondering what the development plan for Mr. Forsberg is, what route are we going to take? With Patric Hornqvist we let him play three more years in Sweden before he split a year between Milwaukee and Nashville. After that he started breaking lose and putting pucks in the back of the net. Except there is a difference, with Patric Hornqvist (and I say this with all due respect) he was a 7th round pick, he wasn't suppose to be a 30 goal scorer. He wasn't a first round pick who ranked as the top European Forward in the draft, but he was a hard working and consistent player who got his shot at making the big time in a small market. In my opinion the time to get Filip on the ice is now. We know Nashville has all but missed the playoffs with that loss to Columbus so what do you have to lose? Worst case scenario you see he isn't ready then you send him to Milwaukee. I know the road to Nashville goes through Milwaukee, and I know how we "traditionally" do things here. And normally with the slowed progression of Craig Smith, I'd agree that players need to spend that time in Milwaukee (I'd argue Craig Smith would be better if he would have done so), but I'd also agree that there aren't very many attractive free agents to grab while we wait.
While I'll discuss what we should do in the summer another time, I'll leave you guys something to think about. Last year the Montreal Canadiens had the 3rd overall pick, this year their poised to make a run deep into the playoffs. This isn't a rebuild, it's a retooling. And with Brendan Leipsic, Pontus Aberg, Austin Watson, and now Filip Forsberg waiting in the wings, whose to say next year isn't the year Fortune Favors the Gold?