From the surprise of being traded to a difficult start to his NHL career, Nashville Predators rookie Filip Forsberg came into this season as a 20-year-old in need of a fresh start. He was fortunate that Predators first-year coach Peter Laviolette didn't know and didn't care about what had happened to Forsberg in the past.
"It was perfect," Forsberg said during the 2015 NHL All-Star Weekend in Columbus, where he had two goals on two shots in his first NHL All-Star Game. "Coming into training camp with a new coach, everyone had to start at the first page and I think that was good for me."
Laviolette gave Forsberg the freedom to play his game, not to mention skilled linemates in Mike Ribeiro and James Neal. Feeling more comfortable and less restricted, Forsberg has answered with a performance that, to date at least, makes him the favorite to win the Calder Trophy.
Forsberg enters Nashville's game Thursday at the St. Louis Blues with 41 points and a plus-25 rating in 46 games. He leads all rookies in points, assists (25) and plus-minus rating. He is tied with Ottawa Senators forward Mike Hoffman for the most goals among rookies (16).