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Preds Previews: Filip Forsberg

by Brooks Bratten / Nashville Predators

When Filip Forsberg signed a six-year deal at the end of June to solidify his spot in Nashville through the 2021-22 season, he did his part, perhaps unknowingly, to better the newly installed seating at Bridgestone Arena.

Not only did he make a commitment to the organization for the foreseeable future, but he ensured an overall decrease on the wear and tear of the fresh chairs as he continues to pull fans out of them with his sensational stickhandling and goal-scoring prowess.

Fine, maybe it’s a stretch to draw conclusions about Forsberg’s impact on the structural integrity of the building’s seating, but it’s become clear he is not only a star on the Preds roster, but also among the League’s elite goal scorers.

Forsberg’s 33 tallies in 2015-16 tied him for 10th with his NHL peers, along with Tyler Seguin, John Tavares and Jason Spezza, all special players in their own right. Forsberg’s 64 points were tops among his teammates, and a career high, as the Swede played in all 82 regular-season games for the second consecutive occasion.

Oh, and he’s only 21.

“A lot of players, when they go from their first year to their second year, have that sophomore jinx or whatever you want to call it, but that didn’t happen with Filip,” Preds Assistant Coach Kevin McCarthy said. “That’s a tribute to the way he approaches the game both physically and mentally, and he’s the type of guy who’s only going to get better and better.”

That’s the expectation from Preds management and fans alike, but Forsberg has shown he’s more than capable of handling the challenge, as evidenced by his past two campaigns at the NHL level.

Forsberg has solidified himself as a top-six forward in Nashville’s lineup and as a mainstay on the power play. He’s led the Preds in goals and points for the past two seasons and his 33 goals in 2015-16 tied a single-season franchise record, originally set in 2008-09 by Jason Arnott. Forsberg also received two first-place nods and finished 10th in voting for the 2016 Selke Trophy, awarded to the NHL’s top defensive forward, a tribute to his ability to play a complete game at both ends of the ice.

If the Preds are going to continue to enjoy success in the regular season and beyond, Forsberg will undoubtedly play an integral role with and without the puck.

Luckily, Forsberg has proven his ability to not only put the puck in the net, but also make a mean Goo Goo, all good news for what’s to come.

“He’s shown maturity beyond his age, he’s focused, and I think he’s the type of guy that’s just going to get better,” McCarthy said. “What I like about Filip, he’s not satisfied with where he is; he wants to become that complete player. He’s a guy that down the road is going to become a guy that’s not just a good player with our team, but a really good player in the NHL on a consistent basis.”

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