Prospect Pulse: Michael Forney

Posted by Kyle Kosior in Columns,Jets Prospect Pulse,Prospect Pulse,Prospect Pulse,Winnipeg Jets on September 22, 2011 — 5 Comments

In the realm of dark horse prospect’s, Michael Forney may be one of those guys who you should have seen coming, but didn’t.   A 2006 3rd rounder (80th overall) by the Thrashers, Forney is a product of the Thief River Falls, MN high school hockey program.

A very promising high school player, Forney attempted to make the jump directly from the Thief River Prowlers to the University of North Dakota Fighting Sioux (with a 3-game pit stop in Des Moines of the USHL).   As is evidenced by his very brief stay in Grand Forks, the transition was not smooth.  Slowed by injuries, Forney never really adapted to the pace.  Forney played (sparingly) in 19 games over two seasons with the Sioux, registering only 2 points.  I recall one painful (to watch) sequence when the Sioux were hemmed into their own zone, with Forney on the left wing.  He had numerous chances to clear, but was either stapled to the boards or just failed to get it out.  The other team (I forget who) ultimately scored and Forney never saw the ice again.  His body language in games and even in pre-game skates told a lot, he was just out of his element.

Forney made a pretty astute move in the fall of 2008, going back to junior and playing a full season with the Green Bay Gamblers.  Scoring a point per game with the team, Forney rediscovered his scoring touch and was said to be very eager to play and very coachable.  He even added a little grit to his game under Coach Jon Cooper.

Forney has spent the last two seasons with Gwinnett in the ECHL, with brief stops in Chicago of the AHL. He scored 66 points in 66 games with Gwinnett last year, and figures to move on to the Ice Caps this season.  Having had the chance to see him skate in a few workouts this summer, Forney seems to have filled out his 6’2 frame and quickened his step.  He has an excellent shot and sees the ice very well.

Fellow Illegal Curver Richard Pollock also remarked favourably on his performance at the Jets camp, noting that he was often around the puck and seemed have added some explosiveness to his game.

The Jets will have to make a decision on Forney this year, as he is in the final year of his deal.  I would be that Forney, with all his arrows now pointing in the right direction, will show well in the American League and be offered another deal.  He has scored well with every team he has played on (excluding the Sioux) and has a good track record internationally. Forney has obviously shown a commitment to improve and to overcome his rocky start and will hopefully be a contributor for the team down the road.

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  • One problem the Jets’ organization may end up having is that there’s a major “traffic jam” for spots in St. John’s.  A whole lot of players who aren’t ready for the NHL, but who are definitely capable of stepping up from the ECHL.  Forney comes across as a player who should have a spot in St. John’s, but it’ll almost certainly be in the bottom six or a healthy scratch behind any possible grouping of Jason King, Ben Maxwell, Patrice Cormier, Jason Jaffray, Carl Klingberg, Jason Gregoire, Kenndal McArdle and Shawn Weller at left wing.

  • Kyle Kosior


    You make an excellent point. However, in the grand scheme of all things hockey, I would take that problem any day. Its not great if you are a player, but for management its wonderful. See which player wants it more.

    Thanks for reading.

  • Well there’s advantages and disadvantages.  The disadvantage of having an overabundance of depth players is that they can’t all possibly play at once.  The advantage however is that there won’t be any rushing prospects into the NHL should injuries arise.  Cormier, Klingberg, Gregoire, etc. will all need AHL time to transition to a higher standard of play (the NHL) and with players such as McArdle, Jaffray, etc. around they aren’t going to end up thrown into the fire before management is confident that they’re ready to do so. 

  • Gordon Campbell

    Further to Michael Forney, I may be biased but I think he is a real dark horse.  Initially he was projected as a first rounder out of Thief River Falls MN.  He led his team to the state tournament beating a Warroad MN team led by T.J. Oshie. Now with the St. Louis Blues.  Unfortunately he suffered a shoulder injury in that tourney. The team should have won the state.  Just my opinion. Then he was on the US under 18 team that was competing in Sweden and suffered a broken ankle in practice.  He recovered and went to UND on a team with the likes of Johnathan Toews etc. Was buried on the depth chart. Also suffered another shoulder injury during a non-hitting open to the public practice by a TEAM-MATE who  blind sided him during that practice. I will not divulge the name. So, this guy takes this all in stride and does 2 yrs at UND. So, he then decides to go Pro and is sent to Gwinnett Georgia to play with the Gladiators in the ECHL.
    Another challenge for him.  During the next two years he is named THE MOST IMPROVED first year and then MVP the next all injury free.  He also got blindsided by his coach the first year.  As a promo for TV he walked into the coach’s office expecting to talk.  The film was rolling and he got checked into a wall/closet to provide footage for a commercial for the team.  Welcome to hockey in the ECHL.  Now he is in Wpg. Take a good look at him.  I lived in Thief River during his years as a little guy learning the game. He epitomizes the Canadian ideal of a hockey player that is humble and has a love for the game like all the players trying to be a Winnipeg Jet. Michael Forney is the real deal and would represent the Jets well.
    Gordon Campbell  

  • Anonymous

    I currently live in Thief River Falls and go the chance to watch Michael work out while my son was on the treadmill at the mini Ralph. Michael has gained alot of muscle mass which he needed.  I really hope he gets a shot at playing at the highest level.  I also go the opportunity to skate with him and Zane Gothberg (UND RECRUIT) this summer amd Michael’s puck handling skills are very quck.  And he is very accurate.  And for the record Gordy Ohie graduated from Warroad in 05, michael graduated in 06, the year we went to State. TRF did not beat warroad in 04 and 05.  GO JETS!!!   
    Chanc Keefe