The Predators' best offensive forward- or offensive offenseman, if you will- is only 25-years old and remains under contract in Nashville for the next two seasons. He may be experiencing a bit of a down year in 2019-20, but Filip Forsberg's worth to the organization cannot be overstated.
The acquisition of Forsberg from the Washington Capitals in 2013 is, to this day, considered to be one of the most significant trade steals of the decade. The best deal of David Poile's career came at a cost of just one (1) Martin Erat and one (1) Michael Latta. In return, the Preds snatched up Washington's baby-faced 11th overall pick in 2012 and bred him into a franchise record-setting scorer.
As of the season pause on Mar. 12, Forsberg leads the Preds with 21 goals on the season. Forsberg and his fellow countryman, Viktor Arvidsson, have carried the team's goal count in tandem since the 2016-17 season. Due to Arvidsson's woeful 2019-20 season, that won't be the case again this year, but Forsberg is still managing to shoulder a lot of the team's offense even while he struggles as well. Oh, and he makes the same amount of money per year as Kyle Turris.
If the season were to officially conclude at the suspension on Mar. 12, Forsberg will have recorded the worst point total of his NHL career with just 48... yet he still leads the team in goals-scored this season. That can either be interpreted as a positive sign of the team's offensive weight distribution, or a negative sign that even when your star forward is having the worst year of his career, he's still outpacing everyone in goals.
As soon as Matt Duchene became a Predator last summer, the formerly lethal Johansen-Forsberg-Arvidsson line, or the JoFA line, was dismantled. Even when the three would occasionally come together for a shift this season, however, the results were nil. Forsberg was paired off with Duchene, which, in hindsight, turned out better for Forsberg than it did his past linemates.
If we consider Roman Josi and his Norris Trophy-caliber season as an outlier, Forsberg leads the Preds' individual offensive point shares (OPS) with 4.0. This means that Forsberg's offensive prowess directly generates four points per game- either for himself or his linemates. For reference, Forsberg's 4.0 OPS put him just one-tenth of a point behind the likes of Sidney Crosby and Jonathan Toews.
Forsberg's -7 on-ice rating this season is tied for the team's fourth-worst, but he also shares a
negative rating with most of the Preds' highest paid skaters. Granted, the Preds are struggling mightily in the defense category this season, but you expect more out of guys like Forsberg when everything hits the fan like it has in 2019-20. In addition, Forsberg's -7 is the worst of the six straight seasons he's played more than 13 games in.
For his part, Forsberg is delivering the third-most hits on the team with 82. Among skaters who have played more than two games with the Preds this year, Forsberg claims the lowest defensive zone start percentage (dZS%) on the team, at 40.6 percent. This means that while Forsberg is on the ice, the Preds are most likely to take faceoffs from their offensive end- and thus have a chance to establish better possessions- rather than having to frantically defend their own zone.
GENERAL EFFECTIVENESS AND TEAM INFLUENCE
Upon Josi's coronation as captain of the Preds in September of 2017, Forsberg joined Ryan Ellis, Mattias Ekholm, and Ryan Johansen as associate captains for the team. The appointment was deserved; Forsberg has not only become an integral cog in the organization's wheel, but he's also a fan favorite. Forsberg has adopted a habit of displaying creative "cellies", or celebrations, almost every time he scores a goal.
Forsberg represented Sweden in the IIHF World Championship in 2015 and 2018 along with Ekholm (2015 & 2018) and Arvidsson (2018). Forsberg famously scoring the decisive shootout goal in the gold medal game against Switzerland in 2018, locking up Sweden's 11th IIHF title.
Forsberg spent only one season in Milwaukee before coming to the Preds, but played with Calle Jarnkrok (another fellow Swede), Austin Watson, and Colton Sissons in that time.