Derek Forbort is a 28-year old defenseman from Duluth, Minnesota. He has played five years in the NHL since being selected 15th overall by the Los Angeles Kings in the 2010 NHL entry draft. This past season, Forbort was traded to the Calgary Flames, who needed to fill the absence of Travis Hamonic. This after Hamonic was sidelined with an upper-body injury in early February. Along with Hamonic and T.J. Brodie, Derek Forbort will also be a free agent when the season expires.
Statistics and Measurables
Though he missed much of the 2019-2020 season due to a back injury, Forbort has been a solid defensive-defenseman for his whole career. He has averaged over 20 minutes a night from 2016-2019, putting up average point totals on poor performing Kings’ teams.
His career Corsi For % (CF%) is 49.3%, which I’ll take the liberty of comparing to Mirco Mueller’s career CF% of 47.1. Like Mueller, Forbort has size; at six-foot-four and 219 pounds. If acquired, he would become the Devils’ biggest defenseman.
Getting into his playoff stint with the Flames, Forbort played in all 10 post-season games, averaging 17:29 minutes of ice time a night. In that duration, Forbort managed to pick up two points, including the goal below that Ben Bishop wishes he could have back.
That goal occurred in game two, which Calgary happened to lose. But, examining Forbort’s playoff game log, Forbort’s minutes were drastically reduced after going minus-three in game four against Dallas. In that game, the Flames had blown a one-goal lead with nearly 12 seconds left on the clock. Here’s how it happened:
As you can see Forbort is right there covering the back-door, as Joe Pavelski hammered home his third goal of the night. This to tie the game. After that, Dallas went on to win the game in overtime by a score of 5-4. Whether Forbort was at fault for that goal is up for debate, but he only played 25 minutes in the following two games, both of which Calgary lost.
None of the information above probably overwhelms you in terms of a must-have free agent defenseman. However, Forbort is a former first-round pick that can play a solid defensive style, using his size to rack up hits and block shots. At 28-years old, it is very possible his best defensive years are upon him, which means he should at least be on general manager Tom Fitzgerald’s radar.
However, his career statistics are just average, he has had back issues, and was traded for just a fourth-round pick last year. For this reason, his projected contract value is probably only around $3,000,000. His last contract with the Kings was two years at $2,500,000 per year. So, giving him a similar deal might be a low-risk, potentially high-reward option for Tom Fitzgerald and the New Jersey Devils.