The rumors have been heating up the last few weeks as to where Peter Forsberg will play this year if/when he comes back. Those rumors have mentioned the teams he has played for in the past, Colorado and Philadelphia, as well as Detroit. Today on Hockeybuzz.com, this piece of information was posted by Eklund:
Forsberg: "Really feeling well and looking full of life," I was told this morning in an email from Sweden. And I am also hearing that Philly is 80% his destination. Foppa felt like Philly treated him very well, there is unfinished buisiness, and he also made some strong relationships in the area. It should also be noted that Scott Hartnell and Forsberg were very close during his time in Nashville.
First of all, I should say that Eklund is not always right. He makes a lot of crazy trade claims that do not come close to happening, so take this information with a grain of salt. But, I do agree that Forsberg probably feels like he has something to prove in Philly, although I wonder if he is willing to play at a discounted rate, because I doubt the Flyers can pay him much. Let's say the Flyers make an offer that he is willing to accept, then the next question should be whether we really want him back. Here are the two statements I keep hearing:
*Forsberg will cause problems in the locker room. Any time a star player comes into a locker room, there will be some changes in the dynamics, but will they be negative changes? I really don't see how, considering Forsberg knows a lot of the guys from last year. Also, the Flyers will soon be entering the home stretch and they might possibly make a Stanley Cup run, and adding a guy with a ton of playoff experience and 2 Stanley Cups can only benefit a team filled with youth and very playoff experience.
*Forsberg will disrupt on-ice chemistry. This is a genuine concern, because the Flyers, with the exception of the Devils game, have been red hot. And, barring a trade, the Flyers already have a pretty loaded set of forward lines. When Joffrey Lupul comes back, the lines might look like this:
So where would Forsberg fit in? Either Jim Dowd or Sami Kapanen would be the logical player to be scratched, but you can't put a guy like Forsberg on the fourth line. The Flyers really need to keep Steve Downie up on the second line, because that has been their best group of late. Forsberg has had great chemistry with Simon Gagne in the past, so it would be best to put them back together. A line of Forsberg, Gagne and Briere would be amazing to watch, with Foppa and Briere both trying to set up Gagne on every play. Gagne would be a goal scoring machine with those two. So, it would then be a question as to which one moves over to the wing, and my first guess would be that it is Forsberg. Finally, Lupul would have to move down to the third line, which would probably move Scottie Upshall down into the fourth line and Kapanen out. Here is what it would look like:
Wow, that is four stacked lines. That group should get at least four goals a game.
So, if the Flyers do end up with Peter Forsberg, will they be a better team? As long as the guy is at least 80% healthy, I don't see how he can't help. The guy is one of the best players in NHL history, and if the Flyers can give him 18 minutes a night, he will generate a lot more offense. That first line I proposed of Gagne, Briere and Forsberg would be scary good, and if you put them on the first powerplay unit with Richards and Timonen, one of the leagues best units just gets even better. The final piece to this team might be one more solid defenseman, and maybe they could use their sudden glut of forwards to make a move there. I would bet that Dowd, Upshall, Kapanen or Cote could be moved, although I am not sure anyone would want those guys.
Adding Peter Forsberg to the mix would make the Flyers one of the highest scoring teams in the leauge, and if they can get consistent goaltending, it would push the Flyers into the favorites to take the Atlantic division, and make them serious cup contenders.
Have any thoughts on whether Forsberg should be added? Any ideas on possible lines? Post your comments below.