Thursday, September 5, 2019

Filip Forsberg Jersey Card

(As per years past, this is a twin-post with my "regular" blog, where I predicted the Nashville Predators would finish first in the Central Division in 2019-20).

Filip Forsberg is a very good first-line player, but I do not think he qualifies as "elite", as seen in his statistics from the last five seasons:
From HockeyDB
Career-highs of 64 points, hitting the 30-goal plateau only twice, only one season with close to a point-per-game average (and thus not quite at a point-per-game average for his career, at age 25); we're a far cry from Nikita Kucherov, Phil Kessel, Claude Giroux, Mikko Rantanen or even the one-season wonder (so far), Mitch Marner.

The excuse of playing for a defensive Preds team doesn't quite exist under head coach Peter Laviolette, although some of the blame does fall on the disappointments that have been Nashville's centres - mostly Ryan Johansen in Forsberg's situation, but a case can also be made for the sub-par play of Kyle Turris and Nick Bonino. Playing with consistent play-makers would go a long way into his converting more shot attempts into goals, particularly since he's not so fond of so-called "garbage goals" (where a player stands near or in front of the opposing goalie to either deflect the puck behind him accidentally or catch an empty-net goal on a rebound).

Would he have scored 40 with the Washington Capitals, Tampa Bay Lightning, Calgary Flames or Vegas Golden Knights? Maybe. Possibly. Probably.

But he likely still would have missed nearly 20 games for two straight seasons.

Ironically, he has a tendency to score more in the second half of a every season, when the play gets tighter, as teams start preparing for the playoffs and fight for seeding. He might just be a slow starter, he might be the type of clutch player who only performs well against top-level oposition or when there are stakes. His playoff statistics from 2016-17 and 2017-18 would certainly be an indication of that.

I'll continue to monitor the situation and should have an answer within five years' time.

In the meantime, here he is sporting the Predators' (awful) white (away) uniform, on card #GJ-FF from Upper Deck's 2015-16 Series 2 set and UD Game Jersey sub-set:
It includes a yellow game-worn jersey swatch, probably stemming from the team's (even-worse) yellow (home) uniform.

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