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Draft Profile: Filip Forsberg

by Michael Smith / Carolina Hurricanes
Each weekday leading up to the 2012 NHL Draft on June 22, will profile one player we believe might be available for Carolina’s eighth pick. Previous Profiles: Cody Ceci | Mathew Dumba | Radek Faksa | Related Links: 2012 NHL Draft Preview | Hurricanes Draft History

Whether the Central Scouting Service’s top-rated European skater is still on the board when the Carolina Hurricanes approach the podium with the eighth overall pick remains to be seen.

Michael Smith
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But if he is available, Filip Forsberg has the skill set to become a premier forward in the National Hockey League.

Though he’s just 17 years old and measures in at a slender 6-foot-2, 181 pounds, Forsberg is already gaining high marks for his abilities to win battles along the boards and drive the net with an eye for scoring.

“He’s your prototypical power-winger,” said Tony MacDonald, chief of amateur scouting for the Canes. “He has a great shot. He competes hard. He’s physical and involved.”

An Ostervala, Sweden native, Forsberg recorded 17 points (8g, 9a) in 43 games with Leksands of the Allsvenskan league (Sweden’s second-tier league behind the Elitserien). In the playoffs, Forsberg had 2 goals and 1 assist in 10 games, as Leksands failed to gain entry into the Elitserien.

In international competition, Forsberg and Team Sweden captured the gold medal in the 2012 World Junior Championship, defeating Russia 1-0. Though Forsberg did not play a big part in the tournament, only recording an assist in six games, he was just months removed from turning 17 and was the youngest player on the squad in a tournament that is dominated by 19-year-olds.

BIRTHDAY: AUG. 13, 1994 (AGE 17)

Against his peers in the 2012 World U-18 Championship, Forsberg took on a much larger role, as he captained Sweden to a silver medal and recorded 7 points (5g, 2a) in six games.

“He showed some pretty good leadership by example,” MacDonald said of Forsberg’s captaincy.

The importance of capturing the top two medals in international play cannot be understated; Forsberg is a proven winner, somewhat of an intangible.

“He shows up and pretty much gives you the same game, game in and game out,” MacDonald said.

Though Filip shares a surname with the Colorado Avalanche great Peter Forsberg, the two players are not related. Filip, however, has watched Peter on the international stage and through internet highlights. While MacDonald said it’s tough to make a comparison between the two players at this point in time – Peter likely knocking on the door of the Hall of Fame and Filip not yet drafted into the NHL – the two share some similar styles in play in that they are both skilled, power-forwards who play a strong two-way game. Peter was selected sixth overall by the Philadelphia Flyers in the 1991 NHL Entry Draft.

Considering Filip Forsberg is ranked in the top five of many scouts’ and media pundits’ lists, it might be unlikely that he slips to eighth. Come draft day, though, anything could happen.

“If he fell to eighth, it would probably be because there’s a pretty strong group of defensemen in this draft,” MacDonald said. “It’s difficult to determine what everybody is thinking and what everyone is looking for.

“It’s a tough call. There are a lot of players here that are difficult to separate. It’s going to come down to what someone wants at the time that they’re making the pick, what they’re looking to add to their team.”

There is no doubt the Hurricanes could benefit from a player like Forsberg on their roster in the years ahead. The seven clubs ahead of them, however, will likely be seeing the same advantages.

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