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Forsberg just the latest example of time in the AHL paying dividends

Filip Forsberg

Nashville Predators’ Filip Forsberg, of Sweden, celebrates after scoring during the first period of an NHL hockey game against the St. Louis Blues, Thursday, Nov. 13, 2014, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)


Lost in the carnage of last night’s Maple Leafs’ performance were another two points, a goal and an assist, for Predators rookie Filip Forsberg.

Forsberg now leads all NHL rookies with 22 points, almost double the total of Calgary’s Johnny Gaudreau (13), currently in second.

While much of the focus surrounding Forsberg’s success has fallen on the Washington Capitals’ decision in April of 2013 to trade the 11th overall pick in the 2012 draft (they had reportedly been “souring” on him), it’s not like he joined the Preds and immediately started piling up the points.

“Everybody gets to the NHL when they’re ready to get to the NHL, when they’re good enough,” GM David Poile said, per the Canadian Press. “We probably forced him. I think he was just too young. How many times do we need to realize that these guys really benefit from coming over to North America, going to Milwaukee, going through that process?”

We’re certainly not saying that Forsberg needing time in the AHL justifies the Caps’ decision to trade him for Martin Erat. In fact, in hindsight, it makes them look extremely impatient. Some players -- Detroit’s Gustav Nyquist comes to mind -- require even more time in the minors.

But it’s a good reminder that identifying and drafting good talent is only the first step. Developing them the right way is equally as important.

And for Forsberg, that development is an ongoing process.

“He’s a good young player that’s finding his way, he’s done a nice job at the start of the season,” coach Peter Laviolette said.

Translation: let’s pump the brakes a bit. It’s only been 18 games.