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Swedish forward Forsberg might be year away

Monday, 18.06.2012 / 4:32 PM / Feature
By Mike Morreale  - NHL.com Staff Writer

There's no doubt Leksand center Filip Forsberg possesses a resume as one of the more dynamic draft-eligible prospects to come out of Sweden in some time.

The question is, will the 6-foot-2, 181-pound forward bring his incredible two-way game to North America next season?

"I have one more year on my contract in Sweden for Leksand, so that's what I'm aiming for right now," Forsberg told NHL.com. "I have to be ready moving away from my hometown and country. It's a big step. You have to be ready hockey-wise and social-wise."

Forsberg is extremely humble and honest, a likable and marketable prospect for any NHL club looking to bolster its offense in the early stages of the first round of the 2012 NHL Draft, to be held June 22 at Consol Energy Center in Pittsburgh.

Forsberg's agent in Sweden, Claus Elefalk, said he feels his 17-year-old client is at least one year away from playing regularly in the NHL.

"I would be surprised if he would be NHL-ready now," Elefalk told NHL.com. "In two years, probably. He is two years younger than [New Jersey defenseman] Adam Larsson, and Larsson just came into play this year. He's two years younger than [Colorado forward Gabriel] Landeskog.

"He probably could play [in the NHL], but only 5-10 minutes, so it's much better he stay in Sweden and play 20 minutes per game, one or two more years."

Forsberg says all the right things, so don't think for a second he wouldn't give North America a shot if his dream of playing NHL hockey was closer than some think.

"I'm playing with men back home in Sweden, so I'm used to the bigger guys, but I know the intensity is higher in North America," Forsberg said. "The smaller rink makes it even tougher, so in the beginning it might be a transition, but I think I can handle it. I'm a big player and I've used my body a little more back in Sweden, too."

Forsberg was a staple in Sweden's lineup for several international tournaments. He won a gold medal at the 2012 World Junior Championship in January and played a part in Sweden's silver-medal winning performance at the World Under-18 Championship in April, totaling five goals and seven points in six games and earning the tournament MVP.

"His greatest asset is goal scoring, the shot and his drives to the net," Elefalk said. "He's always dangerous when he's around the puck, but he's really good at all aspects of the game. He can play defense, pass the puck, works hard, finesse. Filip is very good at all things, and some things he's extra good at: Scoring and shooting."

Forsberg admits he's a natural wing, but can play center.

"I can play defense or goalie, too," he said with a grin. "I tested goalie when I was younger, but never really stuck with it."

Forsberg was No. 1 among European skaters in NHL Central Scouting’s final rankings.

"Every game I watched him play, he always scored the big goals at the right moment," NHL Director of European Scouting Goran Stubb told NHL.com. "Whether it was in the middle of the game or in the final minute, he got it done. He's big, strong and can skate."

Forsberg (no relation to former NHL All-Star Peter Forsberg) played 43 games with Leksand in Allsvenskan, the Swedish second division, and had 8 goals, 17 points and a plus-3 rating.

"He's more of a Markus Naslund-type, but he does possess the competitive spirit of a Peter Forsberg," Elefalk said. "He might be a combination of Naslund and Forsberg. Now, they are both better than Filip, but he does have something of both of them and he shoots from the right like Mats Sundin … so I think there's a little Sundin there, too."

Forsberg can provide quality minutes on the power play and the penalty kill, and doesn't shy from blocking shots.

"He's a leader who shows by example; I would compare him to Anaheim's Corey Perry a little bit," Stubb said. "[He] 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."

Forsberg said he does have room for improvement.

"My skating," he said. "If I could add better skating to my game, I think I could be an even better hockey player, so that's what I'm trying to improve every day right now."

Follow Mike Morreale on Twitter at: @mike_morreale

Author: Mike G. Morreale | NHL.com Staff Writer

SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

WESTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 z - ANA 82 54 20 8 266 209 116
2 y - COL 82 52 22 8 250 220 112
3 x - STL 82 52 23 7 248 191 111
4 x - SJS 82 51 22 9 249 200 111
5 x - CHI 82 46 21 15 267 220 107
6 x - LAK 82 46 28 8 206 174 100
7 x - MIN 82 43 27 12 207 206 98
8 x - DAL 82 40 31 11 235 228 91
9 PHX 82 37 30 15 216 231 89
10 NSH 82 38 32 12 216 242 88
11 WPG 82 37 35 10 227 237 84
12 VAN 82 36 35 11 196 223 83
13 CGY 82 35 40 7 209 241 77
14 EDM 82 29 44 9 203 270 67

STATS

2013-2014 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
B. Wheeler 82 28 41 4 69
B. Little 82 23 41 8 64
D. Byfuglien 78 20 36 -20 56
A. Ladd 78 23 31 8 54
O. Jokinen 82 18 25 -8 43
M. Frolik 81 15 27 8 42
E. Kane 63 19 22 -7 41
M. Scheifele 63 13 21 9 34
T. Enstrom 82 10 20 -9 30
J. Trouba 65 10 19 4 29
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
A. Montoya 13 8 3 .920 2.30
O. Pavelec 22 26 7 .901 3.01