Forsberg travels a path blazed by one of Predators' earliest prospects

Nashville Predators forward prospect Filip Forsberg is headed back to Milwaukee following a brief return to the NHL.

The Predators reassigned him Tuesday, two days after his most recent recall. He played just 7:59 in Sunday’s victory at Chicago in place of Patric Hornqvist, who left the team to be with his wife following the birth of their child.

No player has made the trip between Nashville and Milwaukee more often this season. He was sent down for the first time in early November, again in early January following an appearance for Sweden at the World Junior Championships and now this week’s back-and-forth.

Even so, Forsberg has a long way to go before he approaches what Mark Mowers went through in the franchise’s early days. When team officials say the road to Nashville is through Milwaukee they might as well just rename it Mark Mowers Way.

“I think I was sent down and recalled over four years probably … I want to say it was over 30 times,” Mowers said recently during a Predators alumni appearance. “… I would say it got less and less funny as it went along. The first year, yeah, it was kind of comical at times. I would have done anything to come back here if I got sent down. It was an expansion team so they were trying out new things and trying to figure out the personnel they had.”

Mowers was never drafted and signed as a free agent with the Predators in 1998, their expansion year, after four seasons at the University of New Hampshire. He played 81 games that season (51 for Milwaukee, 30 for Nashville) and 64 the next season (41 for Nashville, 20 for Milwaukee). His last season with the franchise was 2001-02 when he was with Milwaukee for 45 games and Nashville for just 14.

He later spent time with Detroit and Anaheim and his career lasted through 2010-11 thanks to four years in Switzerland.

“The first year it didn’t bother me,” Mowers said of the up and down. “The second year it didn’t happen quite as much but when it did it starts to wear on you because it’s like, ‘What else are they looking for?’

“I can look back and say, ‘I wish I had this and that’ but on the other side of it they did give me an opportunity. … I can’t look back and complain and say I at least didn’t get a shot to play in the NHL.”

Forsberg is going to get every opportunity to play in the NHL. The fact that he was a first-round pick by Washington in 2012 (11th overall) and a prized trade acquisition by Nashville last year ensures as much – and makes it unlikely he’ll need as many opportunities as Mowers to prove himself.