Long recognized as one of the best dynamic young players in the entire NHL, Filip Forsberg may have a chance at finally putting himself in the Hart Trophy conversation this year if he can find a way to play a full 82-game season. Coming off a solid 50-point performance in 2018-19, Forsberg racked up 28 goals and 22 assists despite only playing 64 games. He also scored four game winners and was one of the top catalysts on an above average Predators powerplay, scoring seven goals with the man advantage. Despite primarily being known for his playmaking ability, Forsberg also recorded 217 shots last year after taking just 179 in 2017-18.
A huge x-factor for Forsberg’s Hart Trophy hopes this year is definitely the newly acquired Matt Duchene, who generated 31 goals, 42 assists, and 73 total points last season. Moving forward, it appears as if Duchene will center a line consisting of Forsberg and Mikael Granlund, which could wreak havoc on opposing defenses across the NHL if the trio can establish some quick chemistry. While primarily patrolling the left-wing position when Nashville is at even strength, Forsberg will switch to the right side when the Preds are on the powerplay. With Duchene, Ryan Johansen, Viktor Arvidsson, and Roman Josi rounding out the rest of the #1 unit, Forsberg has a legitimate shot at doing major damage in a wide variety of situations.
Filip Forsberg Hart Trophy Odds Compared to Other Stars Across the NHL?
Betting markets seem to be pretty skeptical about Forsberg’s Hart chances heading into the regular season, as he currently sits around +5500 to win the award across most sportsbooks. Those odds mean that most bettors clearly consider him a massive longshot to even enter the Hart conversation, however, it is important to note that he certainly isn’t priced that much differently than he was at the beginning of last season. That oversight could provide some unique value if Forsberg immediately clicks with Matt Duchene on what has the potential to be an extremely potent second line.
Of course, Forsberg is up against the likes of Connor McDavid (+350), Nikita Kucherov (+550), Sidney Crosby (+700), and Auston Matthews (+950) so something extraordinary will need to occur for him to somehow garner the most first place votes in June 2020. Other serious contenders include Alex Ovechkin (+1000), Nathan MacKinnon (+1000), and Taylor Hall (+1400). Attempting to identify decent value longshots is extremely difficult for a wide variety of NHL awards, although perhaps none are as challenging as the Hart Trophy due to the extremely top-heavy nature of the voting process.
However, John Tavares (+2500), Mitch Marner (+2800) and Steven Stamkos (+2800) all fit the bill quite nicely due to the talent surrounding them in both Toronto and Tampa Bay respectively. Even so, Forsberg may find a way to stick out from the rest of the pack if he successfully takes his game to the next level here in 2019-20, as Nashville doesn’t really have a singular star like many of the other Top 10 franchises league-wide.