Facing Off: The Forsberg Comeback

Updated: October 14, 2009 at 2:54 am by Facing Off

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The Peter Forsberg Comeback Show is back on tour.  In his attempt to return the highest level of hockey (the NHL), Forsberg has been playing with Modo of the Swedish Elite League.  He has played 2 games and has recorded 2 goals, including an overtime winner, and an assist.

Mats Wennerholm from the Swedish newspaper Aftonbladet gives us his perpective on watching Forsberg the other night: “I watched Foppa play tonight. I haven´t seen him better in five years. He was dominating the game and even had a brawl with ex-Shark Marcus Ragnarsson. All the experts here in Sweden were stunned. The old Foppa was back.”  

From Forsberg himself:  “I was a little bit better than in the last game, but it´s too early to tell what will happen. But my foot felt better tonight, and it feels like it´s going in the right direction. I will play my third game on Monday, and then I take a couple of days to evaluate which direction I will take. I haven´t closed any doors, but my ambition is to play at the highest level.  It was nice to have a win for the team, and show everybody that I am not completely useless.”  When asked about returning to the NHL Forsberg responded, “We will see what happens. I haven´t even thought of it yet.”

Ex-NHLer Thomas Steen, an assistant coach with Modo was asked what the difference in the game was.  He responded, “Forsberg. Everybody could see that. When he competes like he did tonight nothing can stop him. He looked really good.”

Early rumors have reported that Forsberg has interest in returning to Philadelphia, Chicago, or Washington.  I don’t know how the Flyers or Hawks could fit him under the cap, or if they even need another top 6 forward, but with the Flyers recently placing Ryan Jones and his $3M salary on waivers it makes one ponder.  Washington looks like the best bet as they have been looking for a second line center for quite sometime.  Of course you have to assume Colorado is always an option for Foppa, but it appears as the Avalanche are headed in a different direction (rebuilding with Duchene, Stastny, etc) and would be hesitant to sign a veteran like Forsberg.

Ryan: Don’t get me wrong, I love Peter Forsberg.  He was one of the most talented players I ever saw play in my lifetime, and I have the utmost respect for him.  However, I do not think he will have any fantasy value this year. The man they call Foppa has not played in more than 60 games in a season since he was 29 years old.  If you are doing that math at home, that was 2002-03.  Does he still have the talent to produce on a point per game basis?  Absolutely.  Can his body handle the demands of a full NHL season? Not so much.  The point of fantasy hockey is to rack up as many points as possible, and Forsberg does not fit that bill.  It is the same reason I avoid guys like Marian Gaborik and Tim Connolly.  My optimistic prediction for Forsberg this year is 40 games and 40 points, and with the number of serviceable centers out there, he is just not worth the hassle.

Stuart: I’ve always liked and admired Forsberg for his skill and tenacity. The trend of the day is for players to make comebacks, some successful (see: Claude Lemieux), others not so much (see: Theo Fleury), so there’s no reason why Forsberg can’t make one as well. The problem with Foppa is that his break from the game was due to career-long injury problems made much worse, not old age or substance abuse. While he may be younger than either Lemieux or Fleury, I can’t help but question how Forsberg’s body would hold up to the NHL if he does decide to come back. I’d say he’d be worth a flyer if he does return to the NHL to replace an underperforming plug, but I wouldn’t move aside a capable player in your fantasy team for him.

Matt: Peter Forsberg is an excellent bench, late draft addition to any fantasy team should he suit up in the NHL this year.  He is a point-per-game machine, generally having more than 1.0 point-per-game each season in the NHL.  He’ll be a great addition to any NHL team’s powerplay and if he lands in Washington, the Ovechkin-Forsberg or Semin-Forsberg connection could be very scary.  It sounds as if Forsberg is playing like his old self so he could be dangerous, even at 36.

Kevin: Why not take a chance on Forsberg?  In a fantasy format, that allows you to drop and add free agents at will you really have nothing to lose.  To Ryan’s point that there are so many other serviceable centers, I say that is reason enough for me to take a chance on Foppa.  If he doesn’t pan out due to his health he can easily be replaced with one of the many of the other serviceable centers.  He likely wont be available in your draft, but definitely keep an eye on when he becomes available in your league if he does chose to return to the NHL.

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