International Ice Hockey Federation

Forsberg no flop

Forsberg no flop

Talented Swede on road to stardom

Published 04.05.2015 15:55 GMT+2 | Author Andrew Podnieks
Forsberg no flop
PRAGUE, CZECH REPUBLIC - MAY 3: Sweden's Filip Forsberg #9 was named Player of the Game for his team during a 6-1 preliminary round win over Austria at the 2015 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship. (Photo by Andre Ringuette/HHOF-IIHF Images)
By his own admission, Filip Forsberg did not have a good game in Sweden’s opening match against the Czech Republic, a tense, 6-5 win for Tre Kronor.

But yesterday he more than made up for things by scoring three goals and adding an assist in a 6-1 win over Austria.

Although he is only 20 years old, Forsberg has just finished his third season in the NHL (among other leagues) and is starting to show the promise that the Nashville Predators saw in him when they selected him 11th overall at the 2012 Entry Draft.

“I think I’m a better player after playing a full year in the NHL,” he suggested. “You have to play well every night. That’s the biggest key, to be consistent and play well every night. It’s not easy over 82 games.”

Indeed, Forsberg played every game for the Preds this year, recording an impressive 26 goals and 63 points in his first full season. He played only five games two years ago, spending most of the season in Sweden playing for Leksand, and last year he made 13 NHL appearances in a season spent mostly with Milwaukee in the AHL, learning the North American game.

Why the sudden development this year, the rise to the top, as it were?

“Hard work and paying a lot of attention to detail during the summer and getting ready for training camp,” Forsberg said. “From there, I just tried to get better every game during the season. The team helped me a lot with that as well.”

Forsberg has size and skill. He can skate and goes hard to the net, but determination and confidence are critical.

“They said it was up to me to make it happen,” he offered. “No one else was going to do it for me. Obviously, the year before was not my best, but I’m happy with the way I stepped up this year and my teammates helped a lot with that.”

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Although Nashville was eliminated by Chicago in five games of the opening round of the playoffs, Forsberg continued to improve and was key to the team’s 5-2 win in game four. The Hawks were up 3-0 in the series, so it was win or go home—and Forsberg delivered.

“It was game five, our lives on the line, so being able to help the team with three goals was huge,” he said. “In the end it didn’t matter, but for that game it was special.”

Forsberg is playing in his first senior competition but he has represented Sweden many times at the junior level. He played at the 2011 and 2012 U18 tournaments, winning silver each time, and he played in three U20 events—2012, 2013, 2014. He won gold in that first U20 and silver the next two times, and in 2014 he was named tournament MVP after recording four goals and 12 points in just seven games. Five junior events, five medals. The experiences certainly contributed to his development.

“Every guy’s journey is different,” he began. “It helped me a lot to play against the best guys at the World Juniors, but there are also a lot of guys who don’t play in that tournament who make it to the NHL. It’s so different.”

Forsberg made his NHL debut on 14th April 2013, at the end of the 2012/13 season, a special moment despite the team’s 3-0 loss. He took a regular shift and saw first-hand the speed of the game.

“It was a huge experience for me, playing against Detroit. Unfortunately we couldn’t win, but it was a lot of fun to play that game.”

And now, with his team off to a 2-0 start and Forsberg contributing to one of the wins, the modest Swede is hoping to keep the momentum going.

“I’m just trying to contribute offensively,” he said. “That’s a big part of my game. I’m just happy to be here and play for my country.”


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