The Nashville Predators have taken the drastic step of demoting Filip Forsberg to the AHL, where he’ll get more playing time than he would in the NHL. The reason behind that is simple: to this point, coach Barry Trotz has shown zero willingness to work with the youngster while helping him develop his game.
It doesn’t matter how good a player is. They aren’t going to learn the ins-and-outs of being a responsible Nashville-type forward while playing five or six minutes a night. That’s exactly what the Preds were doing with Forsberg though, and the promising youngster will get to work on his chops with the Milwaukee Admirals for the time being.
Trotz spoke to Josh Cooper of the Tennessean about the reasoning for Forsberg’s demotion:
I think there’s a trust factor between me and him. If he’s not getting a lot of ice time … I’ve talked about maybe him going down (to the American Hockey League affiliate in Milwaukee) for a weekend to play a lot of minutes and have a good weekend and have a lot of touches with the puck and all those things good hockey players want.
The issue with Forsberg’s game clearly isn’t on the offensive side of the puck. He’s had problems adjusting to more defensive responsibility in the NHL, and is a brutal minus-eight on the year. That’s too low, and he’s not producing at a high enough level to make that a reasonable cost of doing business.
It wouldn’t be surprising to see Forsberg return to Nashville in a week or two. For now though, it’s back to the bus rides in the minors to work on the defensive side of things.
The Predators gave up a decent asset in Martin Erat to land Forsberg, so this is just a small step in a developmental process that is likely to take at least another season or so.