Thursday, February 15, 2007

Forsberg heads to Music City
Deal comes after ultimatum from Flyers

The Flyers have given Peter Forsberg a deadline for a decision and it's this weekend.

Club chairman Ed Snider met with the Swedish center this afternoon and told him he wanted to know before Sunday whether he intends to re-sign with the team or whether he will waive his no-trade clause.
UPDATE Forsberg has been pulled out of the Flyers' line-up for tonight's game, with the speculation having him being dealt to Nashville for a top prospect, a first-round pick and a second-round pick.

UPDATE TSN reports that the Flyers will receive "Scottie Upshall, Ryan Parent, a first round pick and a third round pick" in exchange for Forsberg.

UPDATE It's a done deal now. Analysis to follow.

UPDATE I like this move from the Predators' perspective. There are a handful of teams for whom this deal makes sense, and Nashville's one of them. With the best record in their conference and a good bet to hold home-ice advantage throughout the postseason, the Predators now boast an incredible seven players with 40+ points.

The biggest downside to the deal from Nashville's perspective is giving up Parent, who has been an integral part of Team Canada's blueline at the past two world junior tournaments. Still, he's not projected to make much of an offensive impact and he doesn't possess the size that would make him an impact defensive defender at the NHL level. At best, Parent looked to eventually slot into the No. 3 role on a Nashville blueline that was full of comparable players.

The Predators are one of the few organizations that has a plethora of young defencemen, and it's from that strength they dealt from.

Upshall, meanwhile, is a different story, and I wouldn't be nearly as concerned with dealing him. For one thing, he's ill-suited (re: smallish) to play the hard-nosed style he used in junior hockey as the captain in Kamloops, where he was an oft bratty and disruptive influence. Upshall was picked far too high in the 2002 draft — ahead of the likes of Joffrey Lupul, Pierre-Marc Bouchard, Keith Ballard, Steve Eminger and Alex Semin — and just isn't going to produce more than 50 points a year at the NHL level.

As for the draft picks, well, the first-rounder will be so deep as to be of negligible value.

This isn't to say Philadelphia didn't make out well. In a lost season, with only 20+ games remaining, the Flyers simply need to sell commodities for future assets, and they did that here in getting Parent alone.

The Western Conference clubs have been the buyers so far (Brad Stuart to Calgary, Ladislav Nagy to Dallas), and Nashville looks really poised to make something happen provided Forsberg is healthy. Here's a look at how he'll slot into the team's depth chart:

Kariya - Forsberg - Erat
Sullivan - Arnott - Dumont
Hartnell - Legwand - Radulov
Nichol - Fiddler - Smithson

With Legwand playing as well as he has been this season, that's as deep a group at centre as there is in the league. The Predators were second in league scoring prior to the deal, and given Upshall had been injured much of the season, don't lose a player from their roster.

It's hard to argue with that. (And pity the low-seeded member of the Northwest Division that sneaks in at the bottom of the Western Conference playoff picture to face this behemoth in Round 1.)

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At 7:18 p.m., February 15, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

TSN is saying Upshall, Parent, 1st & a 3rd.

Thats a hell of a deal for Philly.

At 7:38 p.m., February 15, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

That's a ridiculously high price to pay for a fragile rental player. Parent is a first round pick projected to be a top 4 defenceman. Upshall was draft sixth overall, and has disappointed so far, but could easily become a top six forward. Add to that a low first and third round draft picks?

At 7:48 p.m., February 15, 2007, Blogger PPP said...

It's a gamble but the Predators want to win this season.

They have a glut of young defenceman including another one (Franzen?) on the way so losing Parent isn't that bad. The picks would be high picks so it's no guarantee that they would develop into players anyway.

This move sends the message that they want to win this year even more than Sutter's move to get Stuart. I like it and I am glad that Foppa went to the west.

At 9:07 p.m., February 15, 2007, Blogger Unknown said...

In a salary cap system, there's no such thing as a glut of young, cheap talent. Every guy you can put on the roster at league minimum means dollars you can use to acquire premium talent. I don't like this move for Nashville (well, as a Red Wings fan, I *do* like it) unless they have some reason to believe that Forsberg is going to be healthy going forward. I have no idea what that reason could possibly be.

At 9:10 p.m., February 15, 2007, Blogger James Mirtle said...

He's looked pretty solid the past few weeks, as Philadelphia has put their little run together.

Really, all Nashville needs is 15-20 good playoff games out of him, as they've already essentially clinched a berth. Besides, even if he's at 70 per cent, Forsberg's deadly.

At 10:02 p.m., February 15, 2007, Blogger Dirk Hoag said...

David Poile should be given credit. He built up enough of one kind of commodity (future value) to be able to give a good chunk of it up for a big short-term gain. It's really not a very risky deal from Nashville's perspective. After all, if Forsberg's foot bothers him still, the Predators haven't given up any on-ice talent in the deal. They can put the same lineup out there that has them 1st in the West...

At 11:09 p.m., February 15, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good analysis James, though I wouldn't say that the low-seeded NW team that ends up playing Nashville in the 1st round should be pitied.
No matter what the matchup is- I'd imagine that series as one that could go the distance. And if it's Vancouver that Nashville has to play, Luongo could steal the series.

At 12:03 a.m., February 16, 2007, Blogger bal said...

I'm gonna agree with dan. Lets not forget what the oil did last year. Infact didn't the bottom 4 in the West all make it through to the second round?

Regardless, this is a good deal for both teams here, and I cant wait to see this nashville team at work now

At 12:09 a.m., February 16, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is now perfectly clear Nashville ownership is intending to sell or move the franchise at the end of this season.

Any good businessman knows that to maximize the sale value of your business you engage in all sorts of short term strategies to "pump up" the profit level in the short term even if it means severely impairing the long term growth of the comany.

In hockey terms it means doing everything possible to win a cup even if in the long term it disadvantages the team. And this trade for Nashville represents an extreme long term price for a very short term gain (does anyone reasonable expect that Forsberg will want to sign and stay in hillbilly country next year, or in some as yet to be determined city that Nashville will move to).

If Nashville wins the cup the ownership will be able to get a higher price for the franchise from local investors, or if they choose to move the franchise a cup win will give them more bargaining power for an arena deal with Kansas City or LasVegas.

This move is all about money and business - not hockey!

At 1:34 a.m., February 16, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I wouldn't call Nashville a certain winner over the 8th seed just yet. They are good, but they are very inexperienced come playoff time. Forsberg has more playoff experience than the rest of the team combined. Plus, a good defense can beat a good offense any time. They could still easily play Vancouver or Calgary in the first round and beating Luongo or Kipprusoff won't be easy. If I were Nashville I would go all out this season and try to pick up some more veteren experience for those 3rd and 4th lines. Someone like Martin Gelinas from Florida would be a great pickup. He is a good all-round player, has good enough speed to fit into the Nashville lineup and has lots of playoff experience and success. I think he'd be perfect for Nashville.

At 7:54 a.m., February 16, 2007, Blogger The Acid Queen said...

It is now perfectly clear Nashville ownership is intending to sell or move the franchise at the end of this season.

Sell, perhaps--but move? Hells no. If Leipold were going to move the Preds, we'd have heard noises about it by now--and from far more reliable sources than some anonymous fan commenting on a blog somewhere.

At 10:11 a.m., February 16, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Holmgren did what he needed to. There's no guarantee that picks will turn into players, or that prospects will either. But either keeping Forsberg and not being able to sign him or trading him and not being able to get him back would have been bad ideas. At least the organization has something to show for him if they end up not having a Forsberg future.

A lot of us have been critical, but I feel like Forsberg doesn't deserve the bagging he's taking on some of the fan forums. If anything, it was a case of faulty advertising. We all knew his injury problems when we signed him; perhaps we just didn't think it would be this bad.

I hope and pray the Flyers don't think about bringing him back in the summer. It is time for the Forsberg chapter to close, unless he agrees to take a significant pay cut. Otherwise, there are plenty of more economical and durable players out there to chose from.

Good analysis. I think this will benefit both teams, and as much as people are deriding Forsberg, he adds an instant punch no matter what. He didn't earn his reputation with nothing.


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