Tuesday, October 23, 2007

The Forsberg factor

These days he skates circles and runs drills with Modo of the Swedish league, all part of a reconditioning and rehabilitation regimen to determine if he his ready for the rigors of an NHL season. In a few short weeks though it is expected that health willing, Peter Forsberg and his coveted feet, legs and hands, will soon be heading to North America.

Reports and trial balloons out of Sweden, have Forsberg putting together a short list of potential NHL employers, two sure things and a few others that could persuade him if they offer the right opportunity.

Forsberg must be an aficionado of old Brando movies, as it would appear that he wants to go to a team that “could be a contender”.

The sure bets apparently are the Colorado Avalanche and the Ottawa Senators, two teams that Forsberg believes are competitive and possible contenders for the Stanley Cup. The Avs perhaps have a bit more money in the salary cap than the Sens, Ottawa is almost tapped out and still has to negotiate a deal with Jason Spezza. Of course the Sens do have an ace up their sleeve, two top flight goal tenders both of whom could claim the number one status on any team.
Should they want to clear up some room in the cap zone that would be as good a place as any to start. Already loaded with offensive talent, Forsberg in Ottawa colours would almost be an embarrassment of riches, but we suspect that they’d be willing to suffer that burden in the nation’s capital.

Colorado offers Forsberg the chance to return to a team that he is quite familiar with, having spent ten years in with the Avs organization, including two successful years as Stanley Cup champs in 1996 and 2001, as an added bit of financial incentive, the Avs have more cap room than Ottawa, with some five million clear and free for the best offer potential.

While those are the two front runners, pulses will also quicken in Philadelphia, Detroit and Vancouver, where it’s said that management is quite interested in cobbling together an offer for the now well rested Swede.

It would be interesting to see how Forsberg would fit in with the Flyers who seem a tad confused as to their hockey direction this season, while Detroit might find that landing Forsberg would help to bring back the crowds in the Motor City who have been quite noticeable in their reduced numbers so far this year.
As for Vancouver, Lord knows they could use a goal scorer or two there, but if Forsberg is serious about wanting to play for a contender it’s hard to see how the Canucks in the present lethargic slump that they are in, would fit that bill. Then again he could be just what they need to finally show Vancouver fans that the team is back on track for a Stanley Cup bid.

Last week the Dallas Stars sent GM Doug Armstrong and team ambassador Brett Hull over to Forsberg’s home town to try and talk him into a Big D rendez vous. But if the reports today are any indication, even the loquacious Hull couldn’t say enough of the rght things about hockey in Texas.

Wherever he lands and providing his health is good (concerns over his feet remain with many), his arrival back from Europe could change the dynamic in the NHL. They’ll be pacing like nervous parents in many NHL cities for the next few weeks while Forsberg ponders his options, it’s expected that he’ll have his mind made up in time for a mid November crossing.

Whichever team ends up with his services may find that suddenly they may be a little lighter at the bank, but will have leapt to the top of the Stanley Cup favourites list

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