Swedish center Filip Forsberg is the top-ranked European skater in this year's draft, based on the final rankings from NHL Central Scouting. He's an impressive kid; very honest and compelling with his answers to every question and seems to have a genuine enthusiasm for his draft week.
He admitted that he has no idea where he's going to go -- and that his mother has been back home in Sweden keeping tabs on teams that may be interested in selecting him. Scouts think Forsberg can be a player much like Corey Perry of the Anaheim Ducks -- a competitive, two-way player that can play center or wing and score a ton of goals.
We caught up with Forsberg during today's media session. Here's what he had to say:
On if he can play in the NHL right away:
"It's always my dream to play in the NHL, as with most of the players. I have one year left on my contract in Sweden, so that's where I will play next season and then we'll see, we'll take it (one day at a time)."
Asked what it would mean to take his Leksands club to the Elite level next year:
"That's one of my biggest goals this season -- to be a key player on that team to take the step up to the highest league. I think Leksands is one of the best teams historically in Sweden, and I think they should be in the highest league. That would be a huge honor."
On what he learned in last year's playoffs over in Sweden:
"We were pretty close to making the step up earlier this season. But hopefully we can take that experience playing against good teams that came down from Elites, and win those games next year. We have almost the same team, so hopefully we can make it."
Do you expect to have a bigger role on the team next year?
"That's what I'm aiming for. I think I have the qualities to play a bigger role."
What sports did you play back home in Sweden, other than hockey?
"I played baseball, but that was for only like two years (laughs). In the summer we played, and with hockey, we didn't work out that much. I tried to play both. Baseball isn't that big in Sweden, but Leksands had a team and I thought it was fun."
Is it a goal for you to go in the top three, or top five?
"No, I don't have any goals (with regard to draft order). There's so many good players here in the draft, and anything can happen. We'll see. I'll have a new favorite team after this weekend."
Will you sleep well tonight?
"Yeah, I think I will be pretty tired after this day."
Is this year's draft less nerve-wracking because of all the uncertainty?
"I don't know, actually. I try to put away the rankings. Most of my friends are telling me when I'm up or when I'm down in the rankings, so it's kind of hard to not think about it. I try to enjoy the week, and then we'll see what happens tomorrow night."
What's your thought process when you think about the teams that could potentially select you (in terms of fit, etc.)?
"It's hard to know, because right now I don't know much about the teams. Of course, I've been watching them on TV home in Sweden or I'm playing with them on NHL 12. We'll see; it's hard to think about. Maybe when it's time for me to go over, teams that weren't too good will be good."
More to come!