Safe to say that Filip Forsberg is the most talented rookie in Nashville Predators franchise history? Yeah, probably.
Forsberg set a new club record for most points by a rookie, recording his 38th point of the season, an assist on Mike Fisher’s third period goal, on Tuesday night’s 3-2 win over Carolina.
The previous record holder, Alexander Radulov, needed 64 games to record 37 points during the 2006-07 season. Forsberg has 38 in 39.
“From the start, Filip has been an impact player for us,” Predators Head Coach Peter Laviolette said after Tuesday’s win over the Hurricanes. “Just watching him tonight, he does amazing things with the puck in small areas. He can get himself out of trouble in the defensive zone with a little drag and a little push, and all of a sudden he’s got thirty yards of clear ice in front of him. That’s talent; that’s special.”
Statistically speaking, Forsberg hasn’t just been the best rookie on Nashville’s roster; he’s been the best skater overall. The Swede leads the Preds in goals (14), game-winning goals (4), points (38) and plus/minus (+23).
In his 39 games this season, Forsberg has failed to register a point in just 14 of them. That includes a six-game goal streak, from Nov. 2 through Nov. 13, a period in which he tallied seven markers, tying a franchise record.
His teammates and coaches alike have raved at his ability to shoot the puck, with goaltender Pekka Rinne admitting that it’s often tough to get a read on the shot when Forsberg releases it from his stick blade. The number of NHL goaltenders that would likely agree with Rinne’s sentiment appears to be consistently rising.
Forsberg is just five goals away from passing the current Preds rookie goal record, also held by Radulov, and he needs just one more assist to usurp Martin Erat’s current rookie record of 24 helpers.
He can get himself out of trouble in the defensive zone with a little drag and a little push, and all of a sudden he’s got thirty yards of clear ice in front of him. That’s talent; that’s special.” - Peter Laviolette on Filip Forsberg
And it’s not just those in Music City that have taken notice of the 20-year-old’s talents. As he has done for the majority of the season, Forsberg continues to pace all NHL rookies in goals, assists, points, plus/minus, shots, game-winning goals, power-play points and the list keeps going from there. Heading into Wednesday night’s action, Forsberg’s 38 points are seven ahead of the closest rookie challenger, Calgary’s Johnny Gaudreau.
Forsberg has already been honored by the League this season with Rookie of the Month accolades for November, and he certainly has the potential to receive an invite to the NHL’s 2015 All-Star Weekend in Columbus. Plus, if Forsberg continues his pace, he’ll be vying for the Calder Trophy as the League’s top rookie come June.
“I think he has earned what he has gotten to this point,” Laviolette said. “He plays hard, and it’s nice to see him [be rewarded]. As your team has success, there will be milestones reached for everybody. This is one for him and it’s a good one.”
So basically, ‘Fil’ is pretty talented. He’s played a sizable part in pushing the Predators to the top of the Central Division standings thus far. And he’s only 20.
Safe to say that’s rather impressive.