What They’re Saying: Filip Forsberg
In Filip Forsberg, Washington has chosen a Swedish forward in the first round for the fourth time in the last seven NHL Entry Drafts (Nicklas Backstrom in 2006, Anton Gustafsson in 2008, and Marcus Johansson in 2009). Forsberg is an Ostervala, Sweden native who played for Leksand of the SEL in 2011-12.
Central Scouting Bureau (ranked No. 1 among North American skaters)
• Forsberg was the youngest player on Team Sweden at the 2012 World Junior Championships, helping his team capture their first World Junior gold medal since 1981 -- he recorded one assist in six games.
• In 2011-12, he split the season between Leksand and its junior team. He totaled 17 points (8-9--17) in 43 games for Leksand in the second division of Sweden’s senior league.
• He won a silver medal at the 2011 World Under-18 Championships, recording six points (4-2--6) in six games, and at the 2011 Ivan Hlinka Memorial collecting five points (4-1--5) in six games.
• While not related, he does model his game after former NHL All-Star Peter Forsberg, learning his style through watching him on Team Sweden as well as online.
• His father, Patrik, a former player, has been the biggest influence on his career – “he has taught me a lot as a father and as a coach”.
• Forsberg played baseball for two years while growing up – it is not a popular sport in Sweden and less than 1,000 currently play the sport.
• He lists the most embarrassing song on his iPod as one he made himself -- “I’m not that good at making songs, but I tried once just for fun. It was not a top song, and I would not play it on the radio”.
NHL Director of European Scouting, Goran Stubb
“A leader who shows by example -- I would compare him to Anaheim's Corey Perry a little bit. Has a nose for the net, and often scores the big goals. He's a creative playmaker, good skater with fine straight-ahead speed. He's a right-handed forward with an excellent shot and an effective two-way player with a great winning attitude. Filip's a solid puck carrier with very good puck-handling skills; mature, good size and physically strong. On top of that, he'll sacrifice himself to make the play.”
“Heavy shooting power winger is the complete package. Ultra-competitive and will take a constant pounding from opponents who clearly target him, yet just keeps on coming. Has an absolutely hellacious shot, particularly on 1-timers. Shows a true sniper’s mentality and sometimes looks a bit selfish taking shots from odd angles, but is actually quite creative and can saucer passes on the tape through traffic. Doesn’t need much space to get dangerous shots away and can create room for himself. Powerful stride with acceleration and a separation gear. Very strong on skates and impossible to separate from the puck. Receives tough passes easily without breaking stride. Goes hard to net both with and without the puck and drives through checks. Overpowers opponents along the boards and wins battles. Determined in puck pursuit with an aggressive stick. Intense, strong-willed player. A thoroughbred who gets stronger with more responsibility.
2. FILIP FORSBERG
Position: Right Wing
Born: 13 August 94
Size/Strength: Very Good
Skating: Very Good
Puck Skills: Excellent
Offensive Play: Very Good
Defensive Play: Very Good
Physical Play: Very Good
Competitiveness: Very Good
Hockey Sense: Excellent
Strengths 1. Near impossible to knock off the puck
2. Great two-way instinct
3. Can start and finish plays
4. Slick and creative with puck
Weaknesses: Needs to bulk up. Keeping it in high gear. Skill: An all situations player who really helps the team possession game.
Forsberg is a very appealing two-way threat that can score, set up or deny opponents scoring chances equally as well. He has great size, shows tremendous versatility and raw power on a still fairly slender frame. No other player in this draft can protect the puck as well as Forsberg. He is a true talent that is capable of getting the puck to the net on his own, but really wows with his ability to find open ice in the slot and unleash his deadly accurate one timer with a lightning quick release. Forsberg is an incredibly gifted well-rounded player that makes everyone around him better. He is the ultimate team player that can switch from role to role with ease, sometimes on the same shift. His Pro potential is off the charts.
NHL Potential: Will be a top line power forward in the NHL very soon.
Style compares to: Jordan Staal
Forsberg enjoyed a fine season which was highlighted by either a silver or gold medal in the four international tournaments he participated in for Team Sweden. He captured gold at the WJC and the 5 Nations U18s and silver at both the Ivan Hlinka and the World U18 Championships. His success carried over and translated into a top-four seed in league play with Leksands. He’s a brilliant power-forward whose skating and shot are already elite by NHL standards. His shot explodes off his blade and he constantly puts himself in good positions to score. He’s always trying to create offensively and is very dangerous due to his long reach and active stick in the offensive zone. His skill and willingness to assert himself to make a play is also impressive. Forsberg’s stride and speed round out his game since he’s extremely agile on his skates and moves effortlessly on the ice. His lower-body is underdeveloped but once he is able to target his quick-twitch muscles he should be a force to be reckoned with. Forsberg’s game is built for all situations, whether it is open ice or along the boards – he can execute. He did not play an aggressive style of game at the World U18 Championships, however his persistence and strength on the puck was evident. He can be categorized as one-dimensional at times since he will completely overlook a passing option in favour of taking a shot. His hockey sense also comes into question at times with the quick decisions he makes in close. Although Forsberg did make several adjustments away from the puck, his defensive game needs some work once a play is set up. Forsberg could be an extremely effective power-forward capable of playing a consistent, top-six role in the NHL and once he physically matures, he could be very difficult to contain.
His numbers from playing against men in Sweden’s second-highest division weren’t huge, but it’s the upside and creativity that Forsberg possesses that will see him go high this year.
He was a standout in the Ivan Hlinka tournament last summer, leading Sweden with four goals in five games, but scouts were left wanting when they watched him play this season. “I had him down as a higher-skill player than I saw him to be this year,” one scout said. “He’s definitely got skill, but when you watch him play in the men’s league, you’re more apt to say he’s a real solid two-way player.”
Forsberg has the physical tools to play in the NHL and is more complete player than most his age. In a rare departure, scouts like what they see from him in the defensive zone, but want more at the other end. “He’s probably the safest pick as a forward you can find,” said another scout, “but based on the summer tournament, I thought there’d be a bit more dazzle.”
Sports Illustrated Mock Draft (predicted to go to Isles at No. 4)
“… Forsberg, no relation to Peter, doesn't have the offensive upside of Grigorenko, but he is thought to be a safer pick. What he lacks in electricity, he makes up for in determination. "He has a lot of battle in him," a scout said. "He works hard for the puck, protects it well, and gets it to the net." Paired with a playmaking center, he'll be a consistent finisher. Scouts rave about his leadership qualities -- he's the sort of player who can rally a room around him and carry it during tough times.”
“Filip is a blend of high end skill and indomitable will. Skill that allows him to produce offensively and a will that makes it very challenging for opponents to stop him. He's a very strong skater with power in his stride and combined with speed, he's capable of opening up ice for himself and backing up defenders. Possessing very good agility, he uses this to maneuver in the tight areas around the net and make himself dangerous. His shot is hard and accurate and he can score from 35-40 feet. His release is outstanding which doesn't allow goalies to get an accurate read on it. He can shoot off the pass as well as being able to shoot in stride. He recognizes opportunities and he has a hunger to score. He's not one-dimensional though and is capable of making plays and creating offensive chances with his passing. He gets involved in the physical game and while he may not be punishing, he's assertive in establishing his presence and gaining valuable space for himself. With a playmaking center, he could be a prolific scorer in the NHL.
Forsberg is a tremendous all-around talent with no clear weakness in his game and the ability to just about everything at an above-average level. Forsberg has high-end puck skills and looks unique when he's holding the puck as he shows a soft touch and a really slippery, yet coordinated way of how he holds it on his stick that allows him to consistently make tremendous moves with the puck and have it look seamless. He couples that level of skill with above-average vision as he's a pretty good passer who is creative, intuitive who can on occasion flash high-end ability in that area but not very often. Forsberg is an above-average skater whose top speed is average or a touch above average, but he's really aided by a great first step that looks very powerful off the line. Forsberg is a very good physical player who gets described by industry sources as "an instinctive physical player" and someone who throws his body around so regularly that it seems natural. His frame is pretty muscular for a 17-year-old born in August which is visible in his puck battles and how well he is able to control the puck. Another weapon Forsberg has is his shot, which isn't his best tool, but it's better than average and he can certainly finish chances. At this point, you can likely guess what all the hype is about as Forsberg has so many ways he can beat you with a great raw skill set, yet he's a smart player who gets his body work done and works very hard on the ice.