With the NHL entry draft set for June 22, mapleleafs.com is profiling ten players to watch. The Maple Leafs figure to enter the draft with the fifth choice.
Filip Forsberg. Leksand C-LW. 1 European.
A six-two forward, the 17-year-old Forsberg is a riveting prospect who should be among the top five picks.
When competing against players closer to his age at the Ivan Hlinka World Under-18 championships, Forsberg scored four times and added two assists in six games.
The youngest player on the Swedish team that won the 2012 World Juniors in Alberta, Forsberg delivered a solid tournament in an event traditionally dominated by older players. He doesn’t turn 18 until August.
“This year was a little bit of a learning experience but I think I should be one of the key players on the team (next year),” he said. “To come here to play with the media interest and the fan interest was a great experience. Now that I know what it takes to win I am hopeful of winning some more of them. “
Forsberg scored eight goals and added nine assists in 43 games with the Leksand club in the Swedish Second Division. He is listed at 6’1” and 176 pounds.
While he held his own against men, Forsberg is probably not NHL ready. Forsberg is a committed two-way player with excellent offensive skills. He has tremendous leadership skills and will sacrifice his body to make a play.
Forsberg is well versed in the Leafs history of Swedes.
“Borje Salming was one of the first Swedish players and Mats having a very successful career,” he said. “We’ll see if some new Swedish guys will join the team.”