The Florida Panthers are one of the most dominant teams in the NHL. They sit atop the Atlantic Division with a record of 37-13-5, totaling 79 points. Furthermore, they own one of the best offenses in the league, ranking first in goals per game with 4.09, and shots per game with 37. Despite the amazing stats, they may want to look into a potential addition to make the offense borderline unbeatable. With rumors of him being shopped floating around, the Panthers should ask to see what the Nashville Predators want for forward Filip Forsberg.
Nashville’s Star in Forsberg
Forsberg, who was the 11th overall pick in 2012 by the Washington Capitals, has been incredible for the Predators since he arrived in the Music City. Through 10 seasons in Nashville, he’s tallied a whopping 430 points (205 goals, 225 assists) through 538 games. That makes for fifth all-time in Predators franchise history in points and assists, along with second in goals. This season alone, he has 45 points (27 goals, 18 assists) through 41 games, averaging more than a point a game. That makes for third on the team in points, fifth in assists, and he leads them in goals.
Including his great stats on the year, he had a four-goal game against the Columbus Blue Jackets on Nov. 30, 202, and continues to be an elite player for the Predators.
Barkov Needs a Solid Winger
Center and captain Aleksander Barkov has easily found ways to produce on the top line, as he leads the team in goals with 25 through 41 games. However, it seems as if there’s a carousel of players on his right side with different faces every game, and even in the middle of games.
If the Panthers were to get out and grab Forsberg, it would immediately fix that issue, and could help cement the top line with borderline unfair talent.
Forsberg’s Playoff Experience Would Help
Through 71 total playoff games, Forsberg has tallied 52 points on 28 goals and 24 assists. This includes scoring a goal in the six-game Stanley Cup Final series against the Pittsburgh Penguins back in 2017. As a result, he has a fantastic amount of postseason experience at only 27 years of age.
With him coming into the fray in Florida, he could use the skills he learned in those tough games to show other players what it’s like to be in those situations, such as Eetu Luostarinen and Anton Lundell. In addition, he’ll give the overall team a big confidence boost when they make it to the dance, as they’d have someone who’s been through the thick of it all.
Who Could Florida Give Up To Make It Happen?
The Panthers have a ton of assets at the forward position. This includes some they’ve discussed parting ways with. For example, forward Owen Tippett, who is currently with the Charlotte Checkers of the American Hockey League (AHL), is reportedly on the market for anyone looking for a top-9 winger. Through eight games with the Checkers this season, he has two goals and eight assists. The 10th overall selection in 2017 still can produce for a team, so they could package him with a first-round pick in 2024 or 2025.
In addition, forward Frank Vatrano was rumored to be on his way out during the summer. He’s in the final year of a three-year contract worth a little over $2.5 million a year. On the current campaign, he’s scored eight goals and assisted on nine others through 44 appearances. He can easily slot into a team’s top-nine with his speed and his play-making ability. Much like Tippett, they could package him with a few first rounders to Nashville.
Will Forsberg Be on His Way Out?
Of course, Poile is trying his best to get an extension for the Swedish forward. However, if a great deal comes from Panthers’ general manager in Bill Zito, he may be willing to part ways with the young winger. The Panthers landing a guy like him can change the entire landscape of the Atlantic Division and easily put them into cup contender status if they weren’t already. With the Cats in a “win now” state of mind, it’s certainly a move Zito has to at least consider.
My name is Joey. I’ve been writing about the NHL for about 3 years with my experience spread out between TSJ 101 Sports and Panther Parkway. I look forward to you reading my articles!