First-round draft pick Filip Forsberg has yet to play a single professional game in North America and the Washington Capitals want it to happen with them.
The Capitals have signed Forsberg, their 11th overall pick in the 2012 Draft, to a three-year, entry-level contract worth $832,500 per season at the NHL level.
The contract goes into effect whenever Forsberg plays his first professional season in North America, which won't be any sooner than the 2013-14 season as he has one year left on his contract in Sweden.
"I got a good first feeling from the Capitals," Forsberg said, "And I thought it was a good decision to get it done right away."
Forsberg, who turns 18 in August, will play with Leksands IF in Sweden during the 2012-13 campaign. He declared that he will eventually move to the NHL but did not set a date for his transfer.
"That's a hard question," Forsberg said. "I will be playing back in Leksand this year. Then if the Caps want me over, maybe I give it a shot. It's hard to tell a year ahead. In one year, you can ask me the same question."
Ross Mahoney, Capitals Director of Amateur Scouting, said Forsberg is young and needs to further develop his skills and build strength before making his leap to the NHL.
"When you see Filip, he's a very young looking young man. A big thing for him is to develop his strength. As he works on his strength, his skating will get even better," Mahoney said.
"He's very good at the top of the circle. He has good hands and has some quickness but his overall speed could use some improvement, but that's the same with most young players his age. So really I think developing off the ice is important for him," he added.
All entry-level deals are two-way under the terms of the current collective bargaining agreement and Forsberg is worth $70,000 at the AHL level, but at this stage it seems unlikely that he would see time with the Hershey Bears.
Forsberg collected eight goals and nine assists in 43 games with Leksand in the second division of Sweden's senior league in 2011-12. He also captained Sweden to a silver medal in the 2012 World Under-18 Junior Championships, registering five goals and two assists in six games while being named the tournament's best forward.
The 6-2, 181-pound center won a silver medal at the 2011 World Under-18 Championships, recording four goals and two assists in six games, and at the 2011 Ivan Hlinka Memorial collecting four goals and one assist in six outings.
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