23-year-old Filip Sandberg has the makings of a future fan favorite. The 5-foot-9, 181 pound Swedish forward is known for his work ethic and intensity, as San Jose Sharks General Manager cited his “battle level” when the team signed Sandberg in May. Undrafted and undersized, Sandberg projects to be a third-or-fourth liner if he makes the NHL, McKeen’s Jimmy Hamrin told Dobber Prospects Radio in June.
In that same interview, Hamrin said that Sandberg should start the season in the AHL. He’d be following the same route as fellow Swedish forwards Melker Karlsson and Marcus Sorensen, who finished their first professional season in North America in the NHL. That doesn’t automatically ensure success, however, as there are real questions as to whether or not Sandberg has enough scoring ability to hang around in the NHL.
Scouts cite Sandberg’s vision as one of his best attributes, and he’s a solid stickhandler as well. But, he never scored more than ten goals in an SHL season, and was only a 0.37 point-per-game player across 240 regular and postseason games. According to Rob Vollman’s translation factors, that projects to projects to about 18 points in an NHL season. That’s not much, even for a bottom six forward. He also lacks top-end speed that other small forwards possess, according to scouts.
Sandberg’s used to proving doubters wrong, though, and he’ll have (at least) two years to do just that. He already has the competitiveness that the Sharks desire in bottom six forwards, and his cheap contract could be an asset when Marc-Edouard Vlasic and Martin Jones’ extensions come onto the books next season. His small stature and scrappy nature should easily endear him to Sharks fans, but proving his offensive abilities translate to the smaller ice surface could earn him a spot playing in front of them.
Name: Filip Sandberg
Age (as of 9/9/17): 23
Last Year’s Ranking: N/A
2015-16 Team: HV71
Where he’ll (probably) be next year: San Jose Barracuda
What we like
Positional versatility, competitiveness, stickhandling, and offensive vision.
What to improve on
Speed, turning his creativity into production.
Sandberg has skills. Displaying them regularly, and supplementing his competitive nature, will make his NHL case stronger.