Forsberg was in a groove prior to the Senators Covid break
On December 16th in a game against the Tampa Bay Lightning, Corey Perry came down the wings, raising his stick, signaling a slap shot. His stick came down but he still had the puck. Meanwhile, Ottawa Senators defenseman, Artem Zub was closing in on him. Perry then moved the puck to his back before finding Callan Foote in the slot, sending it to him with a half-spin pass. With three Senators trailing Foote, he quickly made a strong shot that had an excellent chance of getting in and closing the lead. The Senators goaltender, Anton Forsberg, was there to shut the door to keep the lead again, with a strong save. This Swedish netminder, Forsberg, is playing well making big-time saves boasting a record of 5-1-1 in his last seven games.
Forsberg’s Professional Career
Before being drafted in the seventh round in 2011, Forsberg played in Sweden. The year after his draft year, he was selected to play in the U20 WJC, where his team won gold. However, he only played in two games. In 2013, he signed a three-year entry-level deal with the team that drafted him, the Columbus Blue Jackets. Before making his way to North America, he finished off strong in Sweden with a Save Percentage of .920. The netminder wrapped up the 2013-14 season in the AHL with an impressive .957 Save Percentage in a short four-game stint. In the next two seasons, Forsberg played a few games in the big league but mostly stuck around in the AHL and played well there. In the playoffs in the 2015-16 season, he put up an impressive .949 Save Percentage en route to backing up his team to win the Calder Cup. After not making a significant impact in the NHL for the third straight season, Forsberg played 51 games in the AHL.
In the 2017 off-season, he was sent to the Chicago Blackhawks and was part of a deal that sent current superstar, Artemi Panarin, the other way. During that season, 2017-18, Forsberg played 35 games in the NHL, which is the most he has ever played in the league in a single season so far. He had a Save Percentage of .908 but had a GSAx (Goals Saved Above Expected) of -4.69. After not playing a single game in the NHL the next season, Forsberg was traded to the Carolina Hurricanes. He bounced between the NHL and AHL before signing with the Edmonton Oilers the next season. That season, he was waived and claimed by multiple teams including the aforementioned Oilers, the Hurricanes, the Winnipeg Jets, and finally his current team, the Ottawa Senators.
Time with the Senators
Last season, 2020-21, Forsberg was a solid goaltender and provided stability in the crease. He has been that this year as well, as the team tends to play better with him in the net. Using GSAx, a metric used to evaluate how a goaltender plays and how many “goals” he saved, he has been the best Senators goalie this season. He has a GSAx of 1.31, while the other goalies have a negative number: Matt Murray is -5.38 while Filip Gustavsson is -6.2. Just looking at these numbers it is easy to say that both Murray and Gustavsson have been bad. Although they could have played better, the defense wasn’t exactly the best and adding in COVID along with injuries, it has been a difficult year. Hopefully, Murray and Gustavsson bounce back and one of them takes the reigns, something that many were hoping would occur coming into this season.
Forsberg’s hot streak
Recently the coach, DJ Smith, stuck with Forsberg and used him in consecutive games in order to ensure that the team had the best opportunity to win. Using Forsberg has paid off as in the last seven games he played, as the team is 5-1-1 in those games that he played. One of those wins was against the two-time defending Stanley Cup Champions, the Tampa Bay Lightning. The Lightning team was missing a few key players but still managed to generate 2.48 expected goals, which Forsberg shut the door on and the Senators won 4-0, as shown in the video below:
Forsberg has been playing well, helping his team to multiple wins. He has been away for some time now due to being placed on the NHL’s COVID-19 protocol list but he is back and it will be interesting to see how the team uses him.