FTHM II: FILIP FORSBERG

There’s not much doubt that Filip Forsberg is going to be an NHL player, and a pretty good one in the estimation of many. The question is, does the big Swede fit into the plans of the Edmonton Oilers, given they already have decent depth on the wing? I don’t think so, but I don’t know so.

If Forsberg’s ranked as the best player available by Oilers chief scout Stu MacGregor and his staff — and that’s, ahem, highly doubtful with Nail Yakupov deemed the BPA by every scouting agency on the planet — then GM Steve Tambellini has to take him and sort things out in a forward group that includes youngsters Taylor Hall, Jordan Eberle Magnus Paajarvi and veteran Ales Hemsky.

While the Oilers didn’t give Forsberg a VIP tour of the town like they did with Yakupov, Ryan Murray and Mikhail Grigorenko earlier this month, they think enough of him that Tambellini met with him for a sit-down conversation over in Europe at the World Championships.

Given everything we’ve heard, Forsberg seems like a bit of a longshot when it comes to pulling on an Edmonton jersey on draft day. Then again, it goes without saying those of us not in the room when MacGregor and his staff meet haven’t heard anything close to everything.

THE SKINNY FROM CSS

Forsberg was the youngest player on Team Sweden at the 2012 World Junior Championships, helping his team capture their first World Junior gold medal since 1981 — he recorded one assist in six games.

In 2011-12, Forsberg split the season between Leksand and its junior team. He totaled 17 points (8-9-17) in 43 games for Leksand in the second division of Sweden’s senior league.

He won a silver medal at the 2011 World Under-18 Championships, recording six points (4-2-6) in six games, and at the 2011 Ivan Hlinka Memorial collecting five points (4-1-5) in six games.

WHAT THEY SAY

NHL Director of European Scouting, Goran Stubb:

"A leader who shows by example — I would compare him to Anaheim’s Corey Perry a little bit. Has a nose for the net, and often scores the big goals. He’s a creative playmaker, good skater with fine straight-ahead speed.

"He’s a right-handed forward with an excellent shot and an effective two-way player with a great winning attitude. Filip’s a solid puck carrier with very good puck-handling skills; mature, good size and physically strong. On top of that, he’ll sacrifice himself to make the play."

MACGREGOR’S TAKE

Scouting Report: "He’s a big winger who is a great skater and has an excellent shot. What I like is he plays the hard minutes."

Projection: "He’s a poor man’s (Gabriel) Landeskog is what he is. I don’t think he has quite as much grind in him, but he shoots the puck probably better. He scores goals differently, from a little further back, where Landeskog scores more from around the net."

NHL Comparable: "Gabriel Landeskog."

Listen to Robin Brownlee Wednesdays and Thursdays from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. on the Jason Gregor Show on TEAM 1260.

  • He would be a good pick if your the New York Rangers and can wait 3-5 years for him develop.That isn’t going to happen in Oilers silks. Can columbus afford to gamble a #2 pick on a player like Forsberg? i think not. The Islanders could use their pick on him. No rush on the Island to do anything soon. I would say that they would be the best fit for Forsberg.

  • Reg Dunlop

    So far Klowe and Tambellini have assembled now 3 consecutive first overall picks. The pressure will mount now on the two at the top guiding this ship. Tambo will now have to start making tweeks and trades as needed to assemble a winning team. His inabilities so far has done nothing but provide top bullets for Stu. Well lets be real you and I ,debateable could have made these picks. Now its time for a GM to be a GM ! Plain and simple there is no where to hide. We have assembled a group of smallish skilled forwards and due to our picking order and luck or bad luck of top end D talent in passed drafts we lack high end D prospects. So here we are , really a collection of misfits and no resemblance of a team that can win in a top 16 tournament. Oil faithful have our hopes of hockey contention in the hands of two clowns and a most recent third addition, none of which have any kind of resume other than continual failure. Hope is promised, however as a casual by stander I fail to see the any glimmer of positive light. Rather, I see insanity more clearly defined with each passing day under current management. Please let the hockey Gods shine up on and bring us proper and qualified hockey management- be gone with the Old OIL mens club- this gong show has gone on for to long. OR prove me wrong.

  • Clyde Frog

    Great read Robin. Forsberg would be a nice pick at 4 or 5, but, given that we are picking first, picking anyone other than Yakapov is too risky. The MSM (and fans) would pick apart the Oilers organization if they were to pick anyone else. Getting the best player is awesome, but I am disappointed that we won’t be addressing one of the teams big needs (centre, big two way forward, dman).

    Jim Matheson is right:

    @NHLbyMatty: Would have been so much easier if Oil had lost draft lottery and picked No. 2. Then they were taking D-man for sure.

    • The Soup Fascist

      What Matheson says there is loser talk, thats right take the easy way out.

      Trade the pick to Burke, then sit back and watch Nail become a star…real brilliant.

      Im becoming so sick and tired of read this f’ing BS. Draft Yakupov and trade for a dman. Tambo needs to do his F’ing job!!

      • The Soup Fascist

        Completely agree @onlyoil

        Tambo needs to take his panties off and actually be a GM. What a terrible position for a GM to be in! He bungled the D so badly but now he had the unfortunate luck to WIN the draft lottery and now he might have to make a decision, or make a trade, or be creative. Oh the horror.

        Like you said its loser talk. What ever happened to wanting to win something now, or making an aggressive trade to help the team now, or being even remotely creative. This steady as she goes, slow as can be, ultra safe, 15 year rebuild is starting to wear on me. Complaining because you might be ~forced~ to take a potential superstar forward to draft an 18 year old, blue chip D who might help us n 4-5 years is just more steady as she goes loser talk.

  • Guess I’ve said this a couple of times already, but if the Oilers do select Forsberg with their top-pick (if they don’t trade down & out of the top10) I’ll be frustrated to say the least. Forsberg will be a useful player in the NHL in say 3-4 years, but he’s nowhere near Landeskog-quality (“a poor man’s Landeskog” was actually a rather good description). The second league over here here in Sweden is awfully bad. Sure you’re playing vs. men (mostly grumpy old farts who never made it to the SEL), but it’s a league that’s closer to the ECHL than the AHL in quality (and v. slow).

    Earlier I explained to Lowetide that the reason why his numbers are very low probably have to do with the fact that young Swedes are rarely, if ever (of course there are a few exceptions to this rule), put in a situation over here to succeed offensively (also see Collberg or even Klefbom & Brodin). Had he played overseas (well, in NA) his number would have looked better.

    I understand that Forsberg is a likely top-10 pick but more so due to the low amount of top-end forward prospects in this draft rather than being an exceptional talent. There is no way I’d rank him above say MPS (and I’m a fan of the Landeskog-type of player, I wanted him 1 year ago) and that has nothing to do with MPS being an Oiler.

    Forsberg is a good talent, but personally I’d never ever even consider using a top-3 pick on him (god knows I’m going to have to eat these words later). If you’re going with a countryman of mine in the first two rounds, go with Samuelsson (despite his foot-speed). Samuelsson is a great character who would absolutely love to stay in the city Edmonton and one day represent the Oilers (..or he was lying when he told me so).

  • The Soup Fascist

    I am not sure Samuelsson’s footspeed is all that bad. While I am certainly not qualified to speak on a technical breakdown of the skating stride – I agree it looks awkward at times. But bottom line he does not lose a lot of races to pucks. At least at the WHL level.

    While certainly he will need to improve his skating and other facets of the game – all these kids do – he has intangibles that the Oilers are short of at center and throughout their lineup. The fact he is a combination of size, sandpaper and skill make him pretty darn attractive. Hopefully he is around at 32.

    DohfOs, clearly you are pretty aware of the Swedish players (although technically he is an American) at all levels. Who is a comparable player at the NHL level you would equate young Henrik to?

  • Tony Montana

    I hold these truths to be self evident:

    1) The Oilers will pick Yakupov first overall.

    2) The Oilers cannot trade Sam Gagner because without him they have no second line center.

    3) The only expendable top 6 forward right now is Ales Hemsky, and that means you are giving Yakupov the second line right wing spot by default. (not saying it is not a worthy gamble)

    Ales Hemsky is not as valuable as he might have been 3 years ago. I would be inclinded to hold on to him until midway through the season, ease Yakupov into a top 6 role and hope that Hemmer posts good numbers to start the season. Then begin shopping Hemmer for a blueline upgrade to a team that has depth on the blue line but needs offensive help up front.

    Do not waste the top pick on any player who is considered a significant drop off from Yakupov and do not draft a D-man with a top pick. The Oilers need to improve the defensive Corps but the way to do that is not with a 19 year old who is only considedred a top prospect in a weak draft year. If the Oilers waste the top draft pick on a D-man I will have lost all confidence in the management team here.

  • Tony Montana

    First off, I said take Yakapov- he’s the best player. Secondly, I think the “BS” you are hearing is a slight lack of enthusiasm because he doesn’t fill one of the gigantic holes on the roster. Yakapov is great, I’m sure he’ll put up very good numbers. But you can’t ice a lineup made up entirely of skilled wingers.

    And I think you have way too much faith in Tambellini’s ability to acquire a top pairing D via trade. I hope I’m wrong.

    • Tony Montana

      No, the BS comment wasn’t directed towards you, more towards the media
      being, Matheson. Matheson needs to do his job and other media as well and hold these guys accountable, RB and JG are the only two who do this at all, well RR does as well. I realize there is a fine line for these guys to walk.

      I don’t know for sure if Tambo can step up and do what he needs to do to get this club to the next level. Expecting a 18yr old to make a difference on the blue, is ridiculous. He has to make a trade or two,as I don’t think he’s going to find that dman through free agency this year.

      BPA thats all that needs to be said about the draft.

  • fuzzy muppet

    Forsberg doesn’t bring enough offense to justify a top 5 pick.

    Paajarvi had the same concerns(lack of offense) his draft season and it looks to be that those concerns are well warranted at this point.

  • Quicksilver ballet

    Kid looks like he’d rather be rocking his XBOX. He should fit in well here.

    Can i change my vote, we need 3 of the top 5 kids in this draft instead of just the two i was originally hoping for.

    Galchenyuk,Murray and Forsberg, then i’ll be happy.

  • Tony Montana

    Changing mind ? After watching MacKenzies hilites of potential first picks i’m leaning toward Galchenyuk . He is less likely to want to go to KHL being basically American , is big, physical,skilled and offensively gifted , and a center to boot . That would open a ton of options on our emerging club if he panned out , and some veterans could be on way out with that pick sooner than later . Yakupov implied he also (Galchenyuk) had most talent on Sarnia squad apparantly . Forsberg will not even be here next season thus seems unlikely we would draft him number 1 .

    Created doubt that Yakupov may not be in our best interest afterall . Lucky team that gets Trouba – he would be good here . Many defencemen that could help us probably down line as well in my order : Trouba,Dumba,Reinhart and Murray .

  • Quicksilver ballet

    3 way deal (columbus, toronto, edmonton)

    To columbus: Gagner, 5th overall, PRV, Kelfbomb, gardnier
    Toronto: Nash
    Edmonton: 2nd overall

    Just putting i out there

    • D-Man

      Way too much of an overpayment on our end.. If we’re dealing a somewhat-established second line center in Gagner and decent prospects in PRV and Klefbomb – I’d be looking for a serviceable d-man who could play in your top-4…

      Don’t get me wrong – I’d love to have both Yakupov and Murray in my lineup, but will either player help push us to the playoffs?? Murray is said to be NHL ready but he’d probably be #4-#5 on our depth chart in his rookie season… Tambo needs to make significant strides this year and two more rookies (as skilled as they are) would probably extend the rebuild a bit…

      If you’re talking something like this (as much as I’d be looking at Gardiner or Tytin in an Oiler’s jersey instead) – something more realistic would be:

      To Columbus: Gardiner, Gagner, Toronto’s 5th overall pick, Edmonton’s 2nd round pick

      To Toronto: Rick Nash

      To Edmonton: Columbus 2nd overall pick

      Columbus immediately improves it’s back-end and gets a decent 2nd line center in their line up with two picks in the top 35 for this year’s draft… Toronto (as much as I don’t think Burke would part with Gardiner) adds significant depth in their top six with Nash and Edmonton gets the 2nd overall pick… A win-win-win scenario – assuming you’re willing to extend the rebuild for another year or two…