Photo credit:@lucasforsell_, @farjestad.bk1932, @farjestad_bk on IG
Faber’s Prospect Rankings #7: Lucas Forsell’s combination of success, skill, speed and grit continue to make him an exciting prospect
By Faber7 months ago
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When a teenager is the hottest player in the SHL for a month-long stretch, he’s going to get some love in our prospect rankings.
Lucas Forsell is a 6’0″ 19-year-old winger who has good pace to his game, a lot of skill, and most importantly — he plays extremely hard on every shift. This kid is a dog on a bone in the offensive zone, specifically on the forecheck. Forsell is almost always the deepest forechecker, and he does an incredible job of being disruptive in that role. Forsell uses his hand-eye coordination to knock down aerial-bound pucks and is quick enough to get on defencemen in a hurry and force turnovers.
He’s the opposite of a floater and we began to see his playmaking come back later in the SHL season. The best part of Forsell’s 2022-23 season was his goal scoring along with his overall success in the SHL. Forsell was loaned to the Allsvenskan last season for two months and came back to the SHL on Boxing Day. He scored in his return to the SHL and ended up scoring 13 goals over his final 32 SHL games.
In those final 32 games, Forsell was very effective in terms of his line-controlling possession as well as scoring chances. Forsell had a 52.6% control of on-ice expected goals and a very impressive 54.8% Corsi in those final 32 games. He did a good job extending offensive zone possessions while also being able to keep the puck to the perimeter in his own zone.
What he does so well in his own zone is take up a lot of space. It’s not from his size, it’s more from his motor. This kid does a tremendous job of emptying the tank on every shift. Forsell doesn’t have the longest reach but he uses a combination of body positioning with his quick stick to shutdown passing lanes and can make good, quick decisions when he does force a turnover.
The weakest part of Forsell’s game is his physicality, but he looked like a much different player at this most recent Canucks development camp. In 2022, you saw him without gear on and it was easy to tell that he was an 18-year-old kid. After a year of training and bulking up by eating moose meat provided by his uncle, Forsell looks like he has added a lot of solid muscle and he is ready for the grind of a full SHL season.
Though there is still a long road ahead for the 19-year-old Forsell, he is doing everything you want to see from a prospect his age and the only thing he is leaving you craving is some time in the AHL.
Forsell is going to develop in Sweden. That’s a place where he feels confident in the organization that he is a part of and he will be getting top-six (mostly top-line) minutes in the SHL. We’re not sure he would be getting that in the AHL if he were with Abbotsford next season.
For knowledge of his future, Forsell confirmed to CanucksArmy that the 2023-24 SHL season is the final of his contract. However, we will probably see him sign one or two one-year deals in the SHL before coming over to North America.
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Ceiling: Top-six winger who adds to a power play unit as a net front passer/finisher. It’s certainly a lofty prediction, but we are talking about a player’s ceiling here. Forsell likely won’t become this type of player but it’s not out of the realm of possibility. If he takes off this season and pots 20+ goals in the SHL as a 19/20-year-old, you can start getting really excited about this kid.
Floor: Top-line AHLer. By the time this kid is 24 years old, he will certainly have this type of ceiling. The worry would be that his floor is also a top-line player in the SHL and they would surely try to keep Forsell there with Färjestad — the team that developed him through his youth.
Production (and how): Forsell finished his SHL year with 13 goals and four assists in 42 games. He struggled at the beginning of the season but ultimately found a hell of a scoring touch after being recalled from the Allsvenskan loan. He has a stretch where he scored 11 goals in 23 games and almost all of those goals came from good process as he was near the crease or slot on each goal.
Prediction (for the 2023-24 year): We see Forsell being an everyday top-six winger in the SHL and he should figure into the power play units as well. Our prediction for his 2023-24 season is that he will play in 48 games and will score 17 goals while adding 17 assists. Anything above 25 points would continue to build the hype for us, if he’s under that, there’s a stall in his development.
ETA: We’re very curious as to how the next 12 months play out for Forsell. As we mentioned earlier, he is in the final year of his SHL contract and will have a lot of options next summer. Our expectation is that Forsell will return to the SHL for at least one more season after this coming year. With that being said, we see him coming to North America for the 2025-26 season and he should get some NHL games in that year if he develops as the same rate as he has over the past few seasons. We could see Forsell getting his first taste of NHL hockey during the 2025-26 season but our best guess is that he gets a real shot to make the team out of camp ahead of the 2026-27 season.
All in all, this is one hell of a seventh-round pick. The Canucks drafted Forsell 201st overall in the 2021 draft and he was the youngest player selected in that draft. He slipped through the cracks and if he was born 10 days later, he would have been a top 75 pick in the 2022 draft.
The path has seen twists and turns but he has put together a stellar SHL resume as a teenager. Forsell will turn 20 on September 5th and we hope to see more evolution during his 20s. If he can just continue to grow into a man while mastering his top skills, we are looking at an NHL player.
As much as we like Forsell, we also know that SHL success doesn’t directly translate to NHL success. Forsell has a lot of work to do before he is at that level but there’s such a long runway left. We’re confident in the kid because of his work ethic and the fact that we saw how much he worked on his body in one year shows us how serious he is about achieving his dream of becoming an NHL player.
I’ll say it again.
This is one hell of a seventh-round pick.
Major kudos to the Canucks’ scouting staff.
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