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With New Contract In Hand, What Will Filip Forsberg Do for an Encore?

For the Preds to contend, they’ll need consistency from their new $8.5 million man.

Calgary Flames v Nashville Predators Photo by John Russell/NHLI via Getty Images

As we approach the start of the 2022-23 NHL season, On The Forecheck is taking an in-depth look at expectations for each Nashville Predators player for the new season. Today, we’re taking a look at Filip Forsberg.

2021-22 Recap:

Regular Season: 69 GP, 42 G, 42 A, 84 P, CF% (All situations) 60.06%, 18:05 ATOI
Playoffs: 4 GP, 1 G, 0 A, 1 P, CF% (All situations) 46.03%, 20:05 ATOI

What can you say about Filip Forsberg’s season that hasn’t already been lauded in Predators lore? The breakout season fans have been craving for years finally came to fruition, with a 42 goal - 42 assist - 84 point stat line that marked career highs in every category. It’s funny what happens when you’re entering the final year of your contract and want a big raise!

The Predators were an offensive machine whenever #9 was on the ice. His line dominated possession, stole the bulk of the chances, and exceled in transition. Forsberg’s 15.1 goals above expected (per MoneyPuck) put him fifth in the entire league, behind only Auston Matthews, Kirill Kaprizov, Brock Nelson, and Steven Stamkos. And while he likely won’t be a Selke finalist anytime soon, Forsberg did enough defensively to be among the better top-line wingers in that regard.

The only real negative things you could say about Forsberg’s game last season were the fact that A.) he missed significant time due to injury once again, and B.) he had a less-than-stellar playoff series against the Avs, only managing one point (a goal in Game 4) in the entire four-game series. Sure, plenty of Preds struggled in that series against the Avs as well. But given Forsberg’s past reputation for stepping up in the postseason, it’s not unfair to have expected more in that regard. But again, when you look at the full scope of Forsberg’s season, you can’t help but feel he secured an “A+” on his overall season report card.

Forsberg’s Expectations For 2022-23

So, what’s next for Forsberg? That’s the $8.5 million question upon which Nashville’s success for this season hangs.

Forsberg had an elite season, but the difference between an “elite season” and an “elite player” is consistency. Should Preds fans realistically expect Forsberg to hit the 40 goal and 80 point plateau year-in and year-out? Well... yeah. When you sign a contract like the one Forsberg signed, the expectations are heightened.

Incidentally, the question about whether Forsberg can repeat last season’s performance may hinge on that same question for other Preds players as well. Forsberg’s statline was no doubt helped by epic seasons from Roman Josi and Matt Duchene. However, the encouraging thing is that the group (along with Mikael Granlund) had excellent chemistry together. Forsberg, Josi, Duchene, and Granlund all have a reputation for being able to elevate the play of other players they’re on the ice with, and together, they should keep their level of play up.

So if that happens, it’s not far-fetched to think Forsberg could hit the 80-point plateau again. And considering he hit his scoring totals despite missing 13 games....

One Bold Prediction

....Forsberg could easily become a 90-point player this season, if he stays healthy. The level of play has been there for the past few seasons, but that didn’t always translate to success on the scoresheet. Part of that was due to lack of scoring support from his teammates, an issue that the Preds seemed to get fixed last season. If that issue remains fixed, expect a similar level of production this year.