Long touted as a high-end prospect, Filip Forsberg burst onto the NHL scene last season, totaling 63 points and making the All-Star team in his rookie campaign. Among a solid crop of rookies, Forsberg finished fourth in voting for the Calder Trophy.
Forsberg is off to a solid start again this year, notching eight points through the team’s first 11 games. His points per game have remained pretty consistent, dipping only to 0.72 from 0.76 last season. A look at the underlying numbers shows that Forsberg’s raw production numbers may drop a little bit this season, but that they are more sustainable than the numbers he notched last season.
To start, here’s a look at Forsberg’s rate stats for the past two seasons.
Forsberg has seen a significant dip in his goal scoring rate so far this season, and a slight dip in his assist rate.
There are a few initial places to look to explain the drop in Forsberg’s production rate. His PDO is actually higher this season (102.02) than last season (101.98). But, if we break down PDO into their two components, on-ice shooting and save percentage, and focus on the shooting percentage side of things, we start to see a partial explanation for the drop in his rate stats so far this season.
Forsberg’s 9.31 percent on-ice 5v5 shooting percentage last season was likely to regress a bit–and it has–down to 6.25 percent so far. Chances are this number will be a touch higher by the end of the year. Given Forsberg’s slight increase in 5v5 time on ice per game so far in 2015-16, his raw assist total may not show the same dip that his assist rate likely will continue to compared to a year ago.
Forsberg’s personal shooting percentage has also dipped, but not too severely, as last season he shot 10.56 percent and he’s converting at a 9.09 percent clip so far this season. A larger sample of seasons will give us a better idea of where Forberg’s true shooting talent level falls but, while 10.56 percent is high, a player of his talent can certainly sustain it. From 2012-2015, 222 forwards skated 2,000 plus 5v5 minutes and 69 maintained a shooting percentage higher than 10.56 percent.
Another place to look is an area where Forsberg has more control over the outcomes, and that is the rate at which he’s generating individual shot attempts.
Forsberg has seen a slight dip in his individual shot attempt generation so far this season, but the drop isn’t significant enough to be alarming. His 2015-16 rate ranks 17th among the 279 forwards who have skated at least 100 5v5 minutes so far this season.
He is undoubtedly a high-end NHL talent, but there were concerns of some regression coming into his Sophomore campaign, given some percentages in his rookie season that didn’t appear sustainable. Some of those percentages have begin to regress. But due to many factors, including an increase in 5v5 ice time and an abundance of skill, Forsberg is going to continue to be a productive player for years.