Connect with us

Florida Panthers

Forsling Scores Goal for Florida Panthers After Big Extension



Forsling panthers
Florida Panthers defenseman Gus Forsling is congratulated after scoring during the second period Thursday. Forsling signed an eight-year contract extension with the team earlier in the day. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

SUNRISE — On the night he inked an eight-year contract extension, Gus Forsling again came up big for the Florida Panthers.

With his team down a goal, Forsling tied it by faking a slap shot, waiting out goaltender Sam Ersson, and firing a wrist shot from the point to tie the game 7:12 into the second period.

The Panthers fell just short, losing 2-1 following a last-second goal by Garnett Hathaway, but Forsling’s contributions on Thursday proved why the Panthers put pen to paper to keep him around for the long haul.

“He brings that leadership more than anything else,” coach Paul Maurice said. “When you are trying to find people that you want to model your franchise after, he wins the fitness award every year, he pushes himself hard, he’s the guy that will be in the ice bath tomorrow, and he is the guy who does all of the right things to prepare for the next game.

“He is wonderful with his teammates and a very high performer. He will play at that level for all of those eight years. He’s physically driven to be great, so an important piece for sure.”

Forsling worked hard to gain that reputation.

After getting claimed off waivers in 2021, Forsling quickly carved out a role on the Panthers.

And all of those years of hard work paid off with a contract that has him set for life.

“It’s hard to put into words how grateful I am for everything this organization has done for me,” Forsling said after the game. “I just remember getting the call when I got picked up off waivers. I wanted to take that opportunity, and I’m just grateful.” 

He certainly took that opportunity and ran with it, quickly becoming one of the most reliable forces on Florida’s back end.

Forsling has 38 goals and 127 total points with a plus/minus of +121 in 259 games as a Panther.

Get FHN+ today!

His +121 is second to only Colorado Avalanche defenseman Devon Toews since he arrived in South Florida.

It took a lot of work for him to get to that point.

Forsling spent time going back and forth between the NHL and AHL in the Chicago Blackhawks and Carolina Hurricanes organizations before landing on waivers ahead of the COVID-shortened 2021 season.

First-year general manager Bill Zito, coach Joel Quennville and several scouts on staff who had worked with Forsling at various stops immediately jumped at the thought of adding a player who fit what they were looking to build.

“When he was on waivers, there was no hesitation,” Zito said. “Guys were pounding the table. ‘He can play, he can play.’ I didn’t know he was going to be so good.”

The rest was history.

“The guy is such a great player, but he’s a better person, and to know Gustav and the commitment that he has to his teammates and to getting better and to being as good as he can every night [is a luxury,]” Zito said.

“It’s also a testament to our scouting staff, who are, in my mind, the best in the NHL by far in the way that they’ve evaluated players and confound people who are good players and good people. And I guess it translates to the coaching staff in the room giving people chances and allowing them to do the things they do well, so it’s particularly satisfying.”

Zito got emotional when announcing Forsling’s extension on Thursday morning.

After watching what he put himself through day in and day out to become a bonafide NHL player and help set the standard in the team’s locker room, he could not help but be overcome with joy.

“When you think about what in three-and-a-half years Gustav Forsling has accomplished, and if you are lucky enough to know him, I said to him last night, I was pretty emotional,” Zito said. 

“The buy-in was on the team, but Forsling owns part of that because he helped create it because of who he is and, how he got to where he was and the sacrifices that he made.

“We have a training camp list of expectations about how conditioned you are, and he is the best-conditioned guy. The competition is for second place. It’s a joke. You can’t even touch how prepared this guy is and I’m so thrilled that he’s on board.”

The feelings were mutual on Forsling’s end when the deal got done.

“It’s very emotional, actually,” he said. “It’s life-changing. I’m just grateful for everything they’ve done.”

The fans in South Florida recognized the work Forsling put into becoming the player he is today, too, and gave him an ovation when he was announced in the starting lineup on Thursday.

“We’ve got some really good fans here,” Forsling said. “The brand is growing down here. Hockey is getting bigger and bigger, and we’re getting more and more fans, and they’ve been here since Day 1.”

With the extension done and the next eight-and-a-half years now committed to the Panthers, the goal remains to win a Stanley Cup.

And Forsling feels like his best shot at one is with the Florida Panthers.

“I really want to win a Stanley Cup, and I feel like this is probably one of the best teams in the league,” Forsling said. “This is where I got the best chance to win for years to come. I think we got a really good team and that’s very exciting.”



  • When: Saturday, 4 p.m.
  • Where: Amerant Bank Arena, Sunrise
  • TV/Streaming: Bally Sports Florida; ESPN+
  • Radio: WPOW 96.5-FM2; WBZT 1230-AM (Palm Beach); WCTH 100.3-FM (Florida Keys); SiriusXM
  • Panthers Radio Streaming: SiriusXM 932, NHL App
  • This Season (Flames Lead 1-0) — At Calgary: Flames 3, Panthers 1 (Dec. 18). At Florida: Saturday.
  • Last Season: Calgary Won 2-0
  • All-Time Regular Season Series: Calgary leads 25-11-3, 3 ties


Get FHN in your inbox!

Be the first to know. Enter your email to get the latest from Florida Hockey Now delivered straight to your inbox.