Peter Forsberg has decided to return to the NHL, and he will soon be rejoining the Colorado Avalanche, the franchise with which his career began. A litany of injuries have forced Forsberg off the ice for much of the past half-decade, but when healthy (obviously a huge qualifier), Forsberg remains one of the game’s elite talents.
“We’re proud to announce to our fans that Peter Forsberg has decided to come back and play with our franchise where he’s enjoyed so much success early in his career,” said Avalanche Executive Vice President and GM Francois Giguere in a statement. “His addition should complement our roster and will bring our team to an even higher competitive level.”
Last week, it appeared as though Forsberg was putting the kibosh on a comeback amidst concerns that the foot injury that plagued him last season hadn’t fully healed. But today, in a bit of a surprise turnaround, the Swedish superstar announced his intentions to come back to the NHL (and the Avs).
“Over the last several months, I have worked extremely hard in order for this to be possible. I am looking forward to putting this jersey on again,” said Forsberg. “I have so many great memories of my playing days in Denver. I’m excited about helping my new teammates and former teammates in the coming weeks, and hopefully I am able to do that in the very near future.”
The five-time All-Star played in 57 games in 2006-07 (split between the Philadelphia Flyers and the Nashville Predators) last season, tallying 13 goals and 55 points. He was dealt to the Predators at the trade deadline for Scottie Upshall, Ryan Parent and first and third-round picks in last summer’s draft.
Forsberg was originally drafted sixth overall by the Flyers in the 1991 Entry Draft. He was dealt to the Quebec Nordiques in 1992 as part of a blockbuster deal for Eric Lindros. And though many Flyers fans lamented what might have been had they retained Forsberg, it’s worth noting that Lindros never played behind a #1 center like Joe Sakic nor in front of a Hall of Fame goaltender like Patrick Roy.
In his first NHL season, he won the Calder Trophy as the league’s top rookie. And in ten seasons with the Nordiques and Avalanche, he recorded 216 goals and 741 points. He won the Stanley Cup twice with the Avalanche (1996 and 2001) and won the Hart Trophy as the league’s most valuable player in 2003 when he recorded 106 points in 75 games.
Forsberg is also a veteran of international play, having represented Sweden at four Winter Olympics (1994, 1998, 2002 and 2006) – winning gold twice. He’s played in five World Championships (1992, 1993, 1998, 2003 and 2004), two World Cups (1996 and 2004), and two World Junior Championships (1992 and 1993).