On December 1, Filip Forsberg had his most productive game of the season against the Arizona Coyotes. He scored two goals on eight shots and picked up an assist in what Predators fans are hoping will be the game that gets him scoring goals with more regularity.
From October 17th to November 25th — a span of 17 games — Forsberg didn’t score a single goal for the Predators. Understandably, Nashville fans and Forsberg’s many fantasy owners (93% owned in Yahoo! leagues) were starting to sweat bullets. However, there is a lot more to his game than just the 26 goals he scored last season.
In his last seven games Forsberg has put 26 of his 69 shots on net while seeing his linemates change on a frequent basis. Forsberg has piled up 11 assists and six power play points in addition to being a player that is eligible to be played at every forward position in Yahoo! leagues, which greatly adds to his value.
This has been something of a disappointing start for Forsberg, even when considering the tough act that he had to follow. Thankfully for his fantasy managers, he still has considerable value thanks to his playmaking abilities and how often he shoots the puck. Last season Forsberg finished with 237 shots as a rookie, which put him in the league’s top-30 shooters.
Something that has skewed Forsberg’s fantasy value in an unexpected way this season were the ten penalty minutes he picked up in Nashville’s chaotic 7-0 victory over the Winnipeg Jets on November 15th. That game had a total of 210 penalty minutes and nine separate misconducts handed out, including one that was issued to the normally non-combative Forsberg. Without those ten penalty minutes, Forsberg’s rank in leagues with standard scoring categories would be significantly lower than where he stands now, as a top 100 fantasy player.
According to fantasypros.com, Forsberg had an average pick of 64.3 in drafts and went significantly higher in CBS and Yahoo! leagues than he did in ESPN fantasy leagues. The fantasy managers that took him in the draft liked what they had seen in Forsberg’s rookie season and were hopeful that Nashville’s top line would be even more productive in 2015-16.
Thanks to his recent big game against the Coyotes and the 16 penalty minutes he has picked up in the first 24 games, Forsberg has remained a valuable fantasy hockey player despite his dearth of goals. Will the goals start to come with more regularity now or was the game against Arizona a fluke?
Fantasy managers must remember to be patient with the talented Swede who is still just 21. However, Forsberg is currently on pace to score under 20 goals this season while being right on pace to match his assist total from his outstanding rookie campaign. All six of Forsberg’s points on the man advantage have been assists, which is surprising considering that six of his 26 goals last season came on the power play.
There’s no escaping it. The goals need to come for Forsberg to calm the nerves of his fantasy owners as well as the community of anxious Predators’ fans.
If you’re a Forsberg owner in fantasy hockey this year, be patient with his unexpected scoring woes and trust in his ability to pick up assists, shots, and power play points for your team. If you’re not a Forsberg owner, this might be the perfect time to land him in a trade by buying low, especially if you believe that his offensive outburst against the Coyotes was the spark that he so desperately needed to start scoring like he did last season for the Predators.