The Forsberg files
And the name at the top of everyone's list? Former Art Ross/Hart/Bud Light Plus-Minus Trophy winner Peter Forsberg.
Where's he going? When will he go? What can the Flyers get in return? What kind of an impact can he make? Did you see that picture of him on Divealanche.com?
And, all the while, we hear next to nothing of what Forsberg has become: injured, ineffective and, at just 33, close to over the hill.
The Philadelphia Flyers are beyond out of the playoff race, on pace for 47 points in a league where teams miss with 90, and there's no question Forsberg's headed somewhere. And given what other, lower-profile soon-to-be unrestricted free agents commanded at the trade deadline last year (think Dwayne Roloson for a first-round pick), the Flyers will make out rather well in the whole thing.
The team getting Forsberg? Not so much.
While he hasn't admitted it in so many words, retirement is a lot closer to Forsberg's lips than most other players his age. His gimpy foot, which apparently resembles a crooked staircase, can't fit into any skate manufactured on the planet, something that seems as good a sign as any that he shouldn't be dancing on ice to begin with. The Croc-hocking Forsberg (at right) may have been one of the league's most dominant players as recently as a year ago, but this season he has all of eight goals and is on his worst points-per-game pace of his 12-year NHL career.
Forsberg himself has said he's been nowhere close to 100 per cent this season, but given the bidding war that's about to ensue for his services, he's not coming at a discount. And is it worth it to pay full price for a quasi-Forsberg, a player who this season has been able only to lead his team to the basement of the Eastern Conference?
If my team's one of those sniffing around in the Forsberg sweepstakes, I'm hoping they stay far away. There will be plenty of high-profile UFA sell-offs by the Feb. 27 trade deadline, and none will come with the string of asterisks currently attached to the Swedish star's name.
"What good does it do me going somewhere else if the foot is still bad and I can't play?" Forsberg said a month ago. "I have to find a solution to the foot problem."
There hasn't been a solution yet, and I can't see one on the horizon.
Maybe I'm wrong, but I think we're awfully close to seeing the last of one of the past decade's greatest stars.
PS All that said, I see the Thrashers, Ducks, Rangers, Habs, Flames and Canucks as teams likely to make a bid for his services. There will be others, sure, but those clubs seem like the best fit at this point.