Maybe it is mere coincidence. Then again, maybe there is something more to it.
The Nashville Predators recalled 19-year-old forward Filip Forsberg on Thursday, the next-to-last day of their franchise-record seven-game, 17-day road trip.
Forsberg had five points (one goal, four assists) in 11 games before he was reassigned to Milwaukee a week ago. Since then the Predators went 0-3-0, were shut out twice and outscored 13-1. That continued a trend that was evident earlier in this season when he missed two games because of injury and two others because of coaches’ decisions.
The obvious knock against him is that his minus-8 rating is tied for the worst on the team. However, Forsberg’s best asset is his skill, which allows for more puck possession because of his stick handling, more room in the offensive end as teams attempt to counter his speed, and more scoring chances because of his quick and accurate shot.
The numbers that matter most, therefore, are these:
• With Forsberg in the lineup, the Predators are 8-2-1 and have outscored the opposition 38-31.
• With him on the bench or in the minor leagues, Nashville is 0-6-1, has been outscored 26-8 and has been shut out four times.
Again, maybe it’s just a coincidence. Given the clear-cut and consistent disparity in performance, though, that seems unlikely. The Predators need all the offense they can get and even at his tender young age, Forsberg has the potential to provide as much as anyone.
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