First and foremost so this blog makes sense, I fully expect Forsberg to be a Flyer if he returns. There are two glaring signs right now that tell me he knows he is coming back here IF he returns to the NHL.
#1 The rumored contract offer is 2 years at $1.3 million per year with incentives, similar to Sellanne's deal. This is not a contract the Philadelphia Flyers would offer for a player they REALLY want back, unless they KNEW the player would sign such a contract. "I will play for that contract with the Flyers if I decide to come back to the NHL."
#2 The Flyers just stocked up on supplies that are rumored to be supplies that would tend to Forsbergs needs. Interesting.
So why doesn't Forsberg just say if I come back it will be to the Flyers? For fans like me and others who REALLY want him back and players like Upshall who could be the odd man out because of Forsberg's return. Its very classy to keep such a thing quiet if this is actually the case.
Here are the lines I would run with a full lineup.
I think adding Forsberg to this line would re-unite him with Gagne as well as help to create space for Briere to work his magic. All year long during 5 on 5 play with the physical style the Flyers play, Briere never has space and I think Forsberg would definately create that. There are some arguments as to why this line may not work, which are legitimate, but I think you have to give it a shot because it really could be a lethal line. Also allows our current line combinations who have been succesful, outside the top line, to stay together.
This line most likely doesn't need much explanation on why, but I think Richards and Lupul have had the best chemistry of any two players on our team all year. And Richards and Hartnell possibly the 2nd best chemistry. People say Richards is overrated and over paid and that he will not put up the numbers he has this year for his career, I completely disagree. At age 22 he is making all the players he plays with better. For example the 5 hat tricks scored on his line, so far, this season. Well worth the money.
I really like re-uniting Umberger and Carter over the past few games and I think Knuble seems to be complimenting them very well. Umberger and Carter have had success in the past and I think following the Briere and Richards lines could really come into their own as a unit. Knuble has struggled 5 on 5 this year with point production but has played much better since this line was put together. I think time will tell, but this is a very nice line from what I have seen so far.
Many people say that Downie should not be on the 4th line and if he isn't in the top 9 should be on the Phantoms. I disagree. There are several times throughout the game where Stevens has his lines juggled all around because of ST play. Our PP unit has a player from each of the top 3 lines on it. Having 3 capable players on the 4th line could help to keep the lines more steady throughout the game.
PP #1: Gagne-Briere-Knuble-Richards-Timonen
Why screw with perfection?
This would be a tremendous 2nd PP unit and could really help all the guys on this unit by playing with Forsberg. Lupul, Hartnell, and Carter's numbers could all really increase with PP time on the ice with Forsberg, which could do wonders for their confidence. 2nd PP unit time yes, but its still PP time and even at a 25% they are getting 40-45 seconds sometimes a minute of PP time on 75% of the power plays. I also think keeping Forsberg off the top PP unit helps to keep the Flyers from relying on Forsberg like has happened in the past.
I am 100% for bringing Forsberg back, and I think it is only a matter of days before everything in this blog become a real issue for the Flyers to deal with.