With the selection of Filip Forsberg with the 11th overall in the 2012 NHL entry draft, the Washington Capitals assured themselves of a talented young forward. Forsberg, 18, has the potential to be a top six forward in the NHL but is a few years away from being ready to make the next step towards the highest level in hockey.
Forsberg signed with the Capitals in July, inking a three-year, entry-level contract. The Capitals first pick of the 2012 draft will earn $832,500 at the NHL level and $70,000 at the AHL level. He is expected to play the 2012-2013 season in Sweden for Leksand IF. Last season, Forsberg registered 17 points in 43 games while playing in Sweden during the 2011-2012 campaign.
Where he will spend the 2013-2014 season is the question. The Capitals currently lack a surplus of top six forwards and Forsberg has the potential to become just that. His contract with Leksand IF expires after the 2012-2013 season and could prove to be the final step before transitioning to professional hockey in North America.
Possibly the safest option for Forsberg before transitioning to the NHL would be to spend a season with the Hershey Bears of the American Hockey League. He has yet to spend time in the professional game and it would be a tough transition especially if he were to take on a top six forward role. In Hershey, Forsberg could immediately position himself on the first line at either wing position and would also gain experience on the first power play unit.
His size is an aspect of his game he should work on before heading to the NHL level. Fosberg is currently listed at 6′ 1″ and 188 pounds and the young forward needs to get bigger as he will eventually be facing shutdown defense-men at the NHL level.
After spending the 2013-2014 season with the Bears, Forsberg would be set to join the Capitals in the 2014-2015 season. He would have two years left on his contract before becoming a restricted free agent and would also hold the experience of playing in North America while adjusting to a new lifestyle. He would be a solid fit on the second line, possibly lining up with Mike Ribeiro at center and a steady winger at the right wing position. His ice time should be limited in his first NHL season, keeping him fresh for a potential playoff run in Washington.
Facing a long wait, Capitals management should be keeping tabs and preparing for the arrival of a potential superstar in the nation’s capital.
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