Looking under the Forsberg hood

I just posted this on the Athletic comments section and thought I'd share this here:

A Sens fan has praised Dorion for getting Mete, Zub and Forsberg for free.

Yeah, the first two sure, but Forsberg? NO ONE IN THE LEAGUE WANTED HIM!!!! And when he arrived I remember Pierre McGuire sneering that he's big and occasionally gets in the way of pucks.

Well, i remember reading at the time that he had a strong AHL career, and we all know that's significant. So I took a closer look under the hood.

Let's be clear before I continue. I'm not making the case he's an emerging star.

But I think we can agree goalies are weird and often emerge later in life. So it's worth debating whether he could be at least a strong NHL backup in the mould of, say, Jake Allen. And someone who, like Allen, could step in and keep his team in games if the starter gets hurt. But at a much lower cost.


1. In the one and only season when he was given the chance, starting 30 games for the hawks in 27-18, his save % was 908.

Yes, not great. But tied with #1s Talbot, Halak and Lehner. And ahead of starters (defined as starting more than 40 games) Murray!, Schneider, Allen, Ward, Price!, Craig Anderson, and Scott Darling. (I lowered threshold to 40 to get in Schneider, who i suspect was injured that year. Note that Forsberg was ahead of several other goalies with high 30s GP.)

2. Just consider his stats in AHL and other leagues:

  • 13-14 Modo in top Swedish league: 920 in 20 games and he finished year with Springfield, 957 in four games.
  • 14-15: Springfield AHL 927 in 30 games
  • 15-16: Lake Erie AHL, 914 in 41 games
  • 16-17: Cleveland AHL 926 in 51 games
  • 18-19: Rockford AHL 919 in 32 games
  • 19-20: Charlotte AHL -- okay, tiny bit of an outlier here, 905 in 27 games, but nothing close to the tire fire stats our guys had at the start of this year. And this is someone starting a young family who must have been pretty frustrated and perhaps a bit depressed with his career progression at that point.
  • And now he's 917 in 7 NHL games this year.
I'd say that's retty solid for a guy who spent his entire NHL career behind established starters Bobrovsky and Crawford.

Now let's look at Markstrom.

I'm not going to analyze his entire career, but he only emerged as a starter at age 28, same age as Forsberg now, in 17-18. After three solid but not spectacular years (two 912s and then a 918) he signs a massive contract that had Calgary fans excited, many Canucks fans (all my siblings are in BC) pissed, and some wondering why Sens didn't go after him rather than Murray. And right now he's at 904 and Calgary's looking at paying this guy $6m every year till he's in his late 30s.

With Murray being both inconsistent and extremely injury-prone, this strikes me as a smart Dorion move.


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