The New York Islanders need top-end offensive talent and they need it quick. They've needed it for some time now. But you knew that already. Armed with some $15 million in cap space for the 2022-23 season, they're looking to get one.
One of the players they'll be targeting it seems is one of Barry Trotz's former players; Filip Forsberg. Is he the right candidate for the New York Islanders? Let's look at what the Islanders are missing and if Forsberg fills that role.
New York Islanders targeting Filip Forsberg
The Islanders need goals. I don't think I'm out of line to suggest that. Since 2018-19 they rank 27th for goals with 679. So yeah, they need goals. And bad. Over the same period (since 18-19), Forsberg has put up 87 goals. That's 35th in the NHL over that stretch.
Over his career, Forsberg has scored at a 0.308 goals-per-game pace, or 25 goals a year. On a team starved for goals like the Islanders, getting a career 25 goals scorer would be a welcomed addition.
This year Forsberg already has 26 goals to his name with only 38 games played. A pace that would see him score 56 over a full 82 season. That's a mouth-watering level of goal-scoring for the Islanders.
In terms of overall production, we're talking about a player that's scoring at a 0.80 point-per-game pace over his career. For reference, Mathew Barzal has produced at a 0.86 points-per-game pace over his six-year NHL career. So while Forsberg isn't quite 'elite' he's right up there at the top end of the league for production.
And really, that's what the Islanders are looking for. A top end winger to add to their group.
The underlying numbers show a guy who's steps above just about anyone currently on the Islanders squad. Here are some key underlying numbers (this year) for Forsberg and how they compare to the rest of the Islanders forward squad:
-ixG: 10.85 (1st)
-iSCF: 115 (1st)
-iHDCF: 37 (3rd)*
*Lee is 1st with 53 and Barzal 2nd with 38.
Of course, that's only one year of underlying data and in a very different system than the one employed by the New York Islanders. The question is, could Forsberg net these returns in a Barry Trotz system?
There's no definitive answer to that because we don't really know. Forsberg didn't make his full-time NHL debut until Trotz had departed for Washington. But, there is an argument to be made that Forsberg knows what to expect from Trotz.
So, is Forsberg the right fit for the Islanders? Yes. Without a doubt. If I had a choice between Gaudreau or Forsberg I'd rather take Gaudreau, but it seems the Calgary winger won't be available in free agency.
Forsberg, assuming he reaches the open market, can give the Islanders what they're looking to add to their top line. If Forsberg reaches July 1 without a deal from Nashville, spending the reported ~$8 million a year to get him would be a good idea.