Vancouver Canucks President of Hockey Operations Jim Rutherford made it pretty clear back in May what the club’s modus operandi would be moving forward. Bolster a young core, preferably a group in their mid-20’s, while maybe consider adding a couple veteran, economical, complimentary players well into the free agency period.
But wait, Filip Forsberg potentially offers up something a bit different and much bigger. At the right price, he’d be a tantalizing compliment on the left side for his countryman Elias Pettersson in the middle. Among other things they’d have double-whammy one-timers on the power play.
Forsberg is 27-years-old and coming off a 42-goal and 84-point season with the Nashville Predators. The right-shot left wing will be an unrestricted free agent (UFA) on July 13th if Predators General Manager David Poile fails to sign him.
Apparently those negotiations haven’t been going very well.
At one point Forsberg suggested he wants to sign back in Tennessee, but then also mentioned the fact that off-ice business is different than on-ice business, maybe an augur that he’s ready to test the open market on July 13th.
If only the Vancouver Canucks had a hunk of dough to afford him. They don’t, as Forsberg might be looking to fetch in the neighbourhood of nine to ten-millions dollars per season. A bit crazy when you consider Alexander Ovechkin, the ultimate righty on the left side, makes $9.5-million per year.
Considering what personnel the Vancouver Canucks might have to move to make that acquisition happen salary cap-wise, Forsberg seems to be a fantasy. Or simply a mistake.
Guess what? Brock Boeser could probably be talked into $7-million dollars per season for a long term deal with his 121 goals in 324 NHL games. That’s .37 goals-per-game over his career.
Forsberg. Nine million?? He has 220 goals in 566 games. A .38 goals-per-game clip.
The points-per-game margin is slightly larger but not by much. The big difference is sandpaper. Forsberg brings some, Boeser does not.
The Vancouver Canucks need it, but probably not a big enough factor to take this plunge.
That said, there is one other intangible.
Before coming to the NHL, Forsberg played pro hockey in his native Sweden for none other than Leksand. You guessed it, Vancouver Canucks General Manager Patrik Allvin’s hometown and the center of his European hockey universe.
No biggee? Well, check out the three recent entry-level, two-way Canucks signees from Sweden, Linus Karlsson, Nils Aman, and Filip Johansson. Two of the three played in Leksand. He’d have a pretty darn good scouting report on Forsberg’s long-term mental make-up.
We might just be seeing the common phenomena of an NHL player reaching his peak performance in a contract year. Prior to Covid, and again moving forward, we’ll see it over, and over, and over again.
Forsberg just blew away his previous single season high of 64 points, a number he’s tallied twice. He’s reached 20 goals in seven of his eight full seasons in the NHL, 30 goals-plus on three occasions.
Boeser has reached 20 goals in four of his five full seasons, with 29 being his single season career high.
He’s intriguing, but Filip Forsberg will have to be some other NHL team’s fancy. Fantasy is too strong a word.