|Photo by: GEPA|
The Nashville Predators are in hot talks with Austrian forward Michael Raffl. Raffl was a linemate with current-Predator Filip Forsberg last season for Leksands IF in Allsvenskan. The 24 year old was fifth in scoring in the league with 46 points (24g, 22a) in 49 games.
"Foppa (Filip Forsberg) is probably the most skilled player I've ever played with and ever will play with" – Michael Raffl
— Jonathan Larsson (@JLarsson6) March 21, 2013
Here is a video of Forsberg assisting on a Raffl goal.
However, Nashville is not alone in interest for Raffl. The Philadelphia Flyers are in pursuit as well. Randy Miller of the Courier-Post in Philadelphia reported the news first in North America.
Almost a year after competing for star blueliner Shea Weber, the Flyers and Nashville Predators are at it again.
This time they’re after a 24-year-old European forward who could add organizational depth.
This month, the 6-foot, 190-pointer who shoots left played for Austria in the World Championships and impressed scouts with a two-point game against Russia while playing on a line with Buffalo Sabres star winger Thomas Vanek.
A possible holdup to either team signing Raffl is that he has another season to go on his two-year contract with Lekand’s IF.
It’s believed Raffl is making in the neighborhood $100,000, so it’s possible the Flyers or Preds would need to simply pay that amount to finalize a deal.
Tommy Salo, former NHL goaltender and current General Manager of Leksands, shared his thoughts on the situation with Swedish reporter Markus Backstrom of dt.se.
We have all the papers. [Raffl] is [signed] with us, and he has no clause to get out of the contract. He has a contract with us for one year and I expect him to complete it.
When asked by Backstrom if he could stop Raffl from playing in North America, Salo said…
As I understand it, we can do it. He has a contract.
Whether or not the Flyers really do want Raffl or not, it could be a battle for "self-esteem." Losing Shea Weber to the Predators last year was deflating to Philly GM Paul Holmgren and their management. And losing another player to Nashville, like Raffl, could put questions into the Flyers' faithful.
For Nashville, signing Raffl could just be an acquisition to make Forsberg comfortable. The 19 year old failed to score a goal in his five games in the NHL. Having Raffl as a potential linemate with the Preds could allow Forsberg to relax and return to his skilled game.