One of the less talked about developments that have made the Florida Panthers such a deep, imposing team the last two seasons has been the progression of Gustav Forsling, a fifth-round pick snatched off waivers in early 2021. Forsling has become one of the most trusted defensemen on the Florida roster and is averaging over 21 minutes a night for the Panthers this year.
Unfortunately, they’ll need to find someone else to eat those minutes for the next few days as Forsling has been placed in the COVID protocol. He won’t play tomorrow against the Edmonton Oilers, and likely will be out against the Vancouver Canucks and Seattle Kraken, should he face the regular five-day isolation period.
Now 25, Forsling is in the first season of a three-year deal signed last July that carries a cap hit of just $2.67MM through 2023-24. That’s an incredible bargain for a defenseman that is eating incredibly tough defensive deployment and yet still has 19 points in 34 games. The Panthers have outscored their opponents 43-25 at even-strength this season despite the defenseman starting just 39 percent of his shifts in the offensive zone. Without him, a player like Olli Juolevi will have to step into a bigger role after playing a little over 15 minutes against the Calgary Flames yesterday.