The name Forsberg is synonymous with winning and greatness in hockey as Swedish centre Peter Forsberg terrified opponents for the better part of 20 pro seasons.
So, with Filip Forsberg (no relation) quickly making a name for himself for the upcoming 2012 NHL Entry Draft, it’s easy to see why fans eagerly anticipate the youngsters arrival to North America.
The fact is, Forsberg has many of the same qualities as the aforementioned ‘Foppa’ as he can simply carry a game on his stick, like we seen him do at the 2011 Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament while leading Team Sweden to a silver medal. He has tremendous hands, excellent vision and hockey IQ, a strong, powerful stride, an NHL calibre shot, and at six-foot-two and 180-pounds, the young 17-year-old is also a physically imposing figure.
Last season, Forsberg lit the lamp 21 times in 36 games for his Leksand J20 squad, and added 19 assists as well. He also suited up for 10 games in the Swedish Elite League as a 16-year-old, potting one goal. This year, the talented winger has two goals and five points in 22 games playing against men, and looks more than ready to take his game to the next level at the World Junior Championship in the coming weeks.
I had the exciting opportunity of catching up with the extremely skilled, and very well-spoken Filip Forsberg, for a quick Q and A.
Who has been your biggest help and influence in developing your game so far?
Filip: I think that is my dad. He played hockey too, and when I was younger he was my coach, so he has thought me a lot of what I know today.
I have seen you a few times now, and have been really impressed with the way you can control a game both physically and offensively, what do you see being your best attributes as a hockey player?
Filip: I think my greatest attributes are my offensive skills. I can handle the puck well, got a great shot, and can also make plays for my teammates.
Is there an NHLer you style your game after?
Filip: My idol has always been Peter Forsberg. He was not the biggest guy, but even though one of the toughest, and he often used offensive hits. That is one thing I´ve tried to learn from him.
What was your ‘welcome moment’ to the Swedish Elite League last season as a 16-year-old? Basically any significant happening in your first ever game in Allsvenskan with Leksand?
Filip: My first game in Allsvenskan was against Sundsvall, but I just played 3 shifts and didn´t even touch the puck once (haha). So my biggest memory from that season was when I scored my first goal. It was at home against Växjö, one of the top teams in the league. After a great move, and a nice pass from my linemate, I got a breakaway and scored. It was a huge moment in my career.
What is the highlight of your young career thus far?
Filip: I hope in a month from now, I just have won the gold medal in the World Juniors with team Sweden. That would definitly be the biggest highlight in my career so far!
You’ve racked up a ton of goals while playing for your club teams in Leksand, and while playing internationally with Sweden, do you have one that stands out as your biggest?
Filip: My 1-0 goal in the U-18 World Championship Final against USA was a great goal. And also, of course, my first goal in Allsvenskan is one of my biggest ones.
With 2012 being your draft year, have you felt any extra pressure to perform thus far?
Filip: No, while I know there is some teams that are following me and watching the games sometimes, I just try to put all that away and play my game. It is that which has made the teams interested, so if I just keep playing my game, hopefully the scouts still will be intrigued.
I know being selected to an NHL club is a huge honor, but if you could pick the team who selects you, who would you choose?
Filip: Yes, it really is an honor. It really doesn’t matter where I go, when Peter Forsberg played in Colorado for the Avalanche that was my favourite team, but now I don’t have a favourite team, so it really doesn’t matter at all.
Who, in your opinion, is the best player you’ve ever played with and against?
Filip: It´s a hard question, but one of the greatest players I played with is William Karlsson. William and I played on the same line at the U-18 World Championship’s, and played very good together, so he is one of my favourite teammates. And, the greatest player I played against might be Linus Klasen in Malmö, he is very talented and skilled.
What’s the first thing you bought after signing your first pro contract with Leksand?
Filip: I dont remember. I usually dont buy that many things, I only buy something when I really need it.
Best advice ever recieved?
Filip: “Just play your game!” I have heard it many times from a several different people, and it is one of the things I always think about before a game. You should not care if it’s an important game, and go out on the ice and be afraid, just play your game and everything will work out fine!