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Nashville Predators Top 25 Under 25: No. 1 Filip Forsberg

By unanimous decision, Nashville Predators’ wing Filip Forsberg has been named the number one player in our Top 25 Under 25 list for the second year in a row.

NHL: Stanley Cup Playoffs-San Jose Sharks at Nashville Predators Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

No. 1 Filip Forsberg (LW)

Birthday: August 13, 1994 (Age 22)

Height: 6’2”

Weight: 205 lbs.

NHL Draft: 2012 1st Round, 11th Overall (Washington Captials)

Nashville Predators (NHL): 82 GP, 33 G, 31 A, 64 P, 47 PIM, +1

April 3, 2013. It was a Wednesday afternoon and I was sitting in my Calculus II class looking at my phone without a single care about the concept my teacher was trying to explain. It was the NHL trade deadline, after all, and there was supposedly a late trade coming in. Bang! Twitter blew up and I started fist pumping under the table. The Nashville Predators had traded Martin Erat and Michael Latta for Washington Captials prospect Filip Forsberg.

I was extremely excited when I saw the trade because, based on everything I had heard, Forsberg was a very highly skilled forward prospect with a lot of potential. Little did I know that Forsberg would morph into the player he is today.

A few weeks after the trade the Predators brought Forsberg over to Nashville to begin his North American career. After Forsberg had spent a few days practicing with the team, all you people could talk about was this kid with this massive wrist shot that could be heard around the rink when it slammed into the boards.

That season Fil made his Predators debut and left many fans clamoring for more after showing off his skill. He even deked out renowned NHL veteran Pavel Datsyuk.

The next season the fans had to deal with the disappointment of not seeing Forsberg for a full season as he was sent down to Milwaukee after a few games up for the big club. He simply was not ready yet for the grind. Down in Milwaukee he gained a lot of confidence and strength and was lauded by Paul Fenton as a future 30 goal scorer in the NHL.

Those were some high praises and expectations; I wanted to wait and see. Forsberg was only 20-years-old, after all, and wasn’t highly productive down in Milwaukee. Man was everyone blown away when the young Swede came into the 2014-2015 season, made the roster out of training camp, and exploded onto the scene with a 26 goal, 63 point campaign.

The twisted wrister and the butt check became “Prince Filip’s” staples. All of the sudden Forsberg was the savior of the Nashville offense. Finally, after years of waiting, the Predators had a young forward who was a bona fide All-Star.

In 2015-2016 Forsberg showed yet another evolution in his game. He was put on the penalty kill, played in many key defensive situations, and finished eighth in Selke voting. He also continued his offensive prowess, tying the Predators single-season goal scoring record with 33 goals and scoring possibly the coolest goal in Predators history.

That is the reason you see Forsberg at the top of the list: there really isn’t a glaring weakness to his game. His shot is second to none in Preds history and he is a top 10 goal scorer in the league. He has some of the silkiest hands on the team and is a quality playmaker. He can play a physical grinding game and loves to catch people off guard with his patented butt check. To cap it all off, he is a potential future Selke winner because he is very good defensively, wins battles and never under any circumstance quits on a play.

Forsberg’s career has only begun and a 70 point season in 2016-2017 is definitely in play. He will continue to become a more consistent contributor on both ends of the ice as his career progresses and will no doubt remain a core player on the Predators’ roster for years to come.

2015-2016 Grade: A

NHL Projection: Top 10 Scoring and Selke Winning Winger