Well, according to the master of all things European hockey, Bill Meltzer, Peter Forsberg will be skating at full tilt within two to three weeks and says this is the last chance for a comeback.
Forsberg's name has bounced around a bit, but all indications are that he will rejoin the Philadelphia Flyers if he decides to continue his NHL career. Assuming that comes to fruition, that leaves Flyers head coach John Stevens with an interesting situation...who goes to make room for Foppa?
There are a few things that have to be taken for granted if he does return. The first is that he'd be playing on a line with Simon Gagne. The second is that he'd have to work off a nice bit of rust. The third is, some deserving Flyer would lose ice time.
I have been critical of Forsberg on this site, and I am on the fence about a possible comeback. There are a lot of good and bad scenarios that could occur.
First the good stuff:
Forsberg is an elite level playmaker and stronger on the puck than just about anyone you could name. I mean, there are guys that can maintain control of the puck after getting hit, but how many other guys initiate contact when they have the puck?
Forsberg is also a good face-off man, and dependable defensive player. He plays the game with a bit of anger and a lot of swagger. On the right team, that rubs off and makes the whole team better.
Forsberg also has a lot of guys he is friendly with in the locker room-Gagne and Knuble for starters, but also guys he played with in Nashville, like Kimmo Timonen and Scott Hartnell.
Now the questionable stuff:
Last season, Forsberg was a soap opera, because of the constant foot isssues and trade rumors. It massively affected the younger guys on the team, most of whom-Mike Richards, Jeff carter and RJ Umberger-really started playing a LOT better after Foppa was traded to Nashville.
If Forsberg seems OK and returns, what happens if he re-injures the foot? Does that injury take on a life of it's own once again? Does it become a major distraction for the team?
Next, who sits and loses time because Forsberg is back? Richards has become an all star and every winger who has spent time on his line this season has improved their offensive production. Carter is having a great bounce-back year-on pace for a 30 goal season and playing a great all around game. Danny Briere, the guy signed to replace Forsberg as the number one center has had, by his own admission, an up and down season. But Briere isn't big enough or good enough defensively to play a third line role and his big contract makes it impossible.
The logical assumption is that Carter moves to the wing. However, Carter has struggled at wing during brief auditions in the past. He seems a lot more comfortable at center, and honestly, is a good face-off man. Richards is not moving to a wing, although, I am sure he'd readily agree to do so. But he's the closest thing to a shut down center the Flyers have.
Perhaps Briere could shift to a scoring line winger's role. A line of Gagne-Forsberg-Briere or even Upshall-Carter-Briere could be deadly and offer match-up nightmares to opposing coaches. However, even that could be a mistake, because it leaves guys like Mike Knuble, Joffrey Lupul(when he returns from injury), Sami Kapanen and Steve Downie in awkward spots, as far as playing time and roles go.
Another worry I have is that adding Forsberg doesn't address the real issues the team faces, such as team defense, the somewhat poorly matched defense corps, and the very real possibility that the team still lacks a bona fide number one goalie.
If they add Forsberg, they have precious little cap space to address other needs.
This one has me really sitting on the fence.