NASHVILLE -- Filip Forsberg rejoined the Nashville Predators after a successful 2014 IIHF World Junior Championship but was not expected to play on Thursday against the Anaheim Ducks at Bridgestone Arena.
Forsberg said he arrived late Wednesday from Sweden and had difficulty with his flights, owing to the bad recent weather in the United States. Nashville coach Barry Trotz said the Predators would hold him out of the lineup Thursday partially for those reasons.
Forsberg was named the tournament’s most valuable player, best forward and a media all-star by posting four goals, 12 points and a plus-3 rating. Sweden, the host country, lost in the gold medal game to rival Finland 3-2 in overtime.
It sounds as if the Predators will try to get Forsberg into a game coming up -- they play four home games in six days starting Thursday -- before making a decision on whether he will remain with the team or be assigned to Milwaukee of the American Hockey League.
Forsberg started the season in Nashville, recording one goal and four assists in 12 games, before sitting out some as a healthy scratch and then missing a month with a concussion. The team sent him to Milwaukee where he had three goals and five assists in seven games before going off to the World Juniors.
Trotz said the most important thing for Forsberg, 19, is to continue to have "traction" in his development and to enjoy success, and that Forsberg told him the competitive level at the World Juniors was "easy" compared to the NHL.
"The decision on Filip is about his career," Trotz said. "He's got terrific hands. I think one of the things [he has struggled with] has been the pace. You want young players to have success. … If we can get him lots of ice time and lots of touches, then he's in the lineup. If I can't, we've got to do the right thing and put him in a position where he can succeed. Against his peers, you see he's a really top-end player."
Forsberg said he understands the Predators lineup is hard to crack right now. The team is playing some of its best hockey of the season, going 3-1-2 in its past six games. Even with right wing Patric Hornqvist (upper body) expected to miss the game Thursday, Gabriel Bourque is expected to take Hornqvist's spot over Forsberg.
"Obviously, this is a hard team to get into," Forsberg said. "The boys won [Tuesday against the San Jose Sharks] and have been playing good the last couple of games so it's going to be hard to get a spot on the roster, but I'm just going to try to work as hard as possible and be in soon."
For the Ducks, left wing Dustin Penner was expected to sit out with an elbow injury. Matt Beleskey could take his spot on the top line with Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry.
Colin Wilson - Mike Fisher - Gabriel Bourque
Nick Spaling - David Legwand - Craig Smith
Eric Nystrom - Matt Cullen - Viktor Stalberg
Matt Hendricks - Paul Gaustad - Rich Clune
Roman Josi - Shea Weber
Kevin Klein - Ryan Ellis
Seth Jones - Mattias Ekholm
Injured: Patric Hornqvist (upper body)
Matt Beleskey- Ryan Getzlaf - Corey Perry
Daniel Winnik - Saku Koivu - Andrew Cogliano
Jakob Silfverberg - Mathieu Perreault - Teemu Selanne
Kyle Palmieri - Nick Bonino - Tim Jackman
Cam Fowler - Ben Lovejoy
Hampus Lindholm - Francois Beauchemin
Mark Fistric - Sami Vatanen
Scratched: Nolan Yonkman, Patrick Maroon
Injured: Dustin Penner (elbow)