(Photo by Frederick Breedon/Getty Images)
In the second installment of "Rating The Kids", we look at young Predators forward Filip Forsberg. The 19-year-old Swede was sent down to the Preds' AHL affiliate, Milwaukee but was he all that bad?
On surface level, if you look at Forsberg's stats, they aren't amazing. While he got off to a decent start in his first few games, notching a goal against Minnesota and few assists thereafter, he has not scored since. Forsberg has amassed a total of 1 goal and 4 assists for 5 points on the season thus far in 11 games played. He was a healthy scratch for a few games as well. Head coach Barry Trotz had him playing very few minutes in recent games. Forsberg played just 5:07 against Los Angeles and 6:42 against Colorado.
So why the few minutes and demotion? Well his defensive play has lacked a bit. Overall, he's a minus-8 on the season. In addition, there have been a number of plays where he left his man wide open for chances to score with a number of those chances finding the back of the net. The Preds clearly want him to be a strong two-way forward as that is the only way to succeed with this team. But he won't get there with minutes totals under 10. Therefore, the demotion to the Admirals.
But has he been all that bad? I don't think so. You can tell he has plenty of talent. Offensively, he's very gifted with the puck. He carries it well and can distribute it around. He lacks a bit of foot speed and suffers from the dreaded "not moving his feet" syndrome that plagued Patric Hornqvist and Colin Wilson early in their respective careers. That earned both repeated visits to the Preds' press box. It's clearly taken a toll on Forsberg and he'll have to refine his game in Milwaukee. He'll get plenty of ice time there.
While the demotion of Forsberg seems like a rash move by Preds brass, it might be a smart one. I thought it was a tough decision for the team to send forward Taylor Beck to the Admirals to start the season. I felt he deserved a spot with how he played last season and this year in the preseason. Now, he gets that call-up and a chance to prove himself. The Preds are a little deeper this year in NHL-ready forwards. I think Austin Watson has a shot at also getting called up for a permanent stay. But right now, Filip Forsberg must play his way back onto the team's NHL roster. They need his creativity and more importantly, he needs more NHL ice-time.
Overall, I'll give Forsberg a 3 out of 5 stars overall this season. 3.5 stars offensively and 2.5 stars defensively.