Reported first by the Denver Post’s Adrian Dater, Peter Forsberg will officially be making a comeback with the Colorado Avalanche, and is expected to sign a contract later today. He has been practicing with the team for a couple weeks now, but will not suit up tomorrow night in Phoenix.
Questions and uncertainties surround Forsberg’s return to the Avalanche, who are on the outside of the Western Conference’s top eight.
No one knows what to expect from Forsberg, 37, and his wonky foot. He has not played on the NHL level in three years, when he made a 16-game cameo (including the playoffs) with Colorado late in the year. He also has not made it through a full season without injury since the mid-90’s.
There was some doubt just a few days ago about whether he would even be able to make the comeback, as the foot was apparently bothersome during an intense practice. But he must have felt good enough in recent days to go forward with the decision.
‘Foppa’ will be joining an Avalanche club that is on a steady downslide in the treacherous Western Conference. Joe Sacco’s club is 6-11-2 since Dec. 19, the day the team completed a six-game win streak.
The Avs will benefit (to an extent) from having Forsberg back; and so will 20-year-old Matt Duchene, who will get to learn from one of the most talented centers to ever lace up the skates in the NHL. Forsberg compiled 885 points in 706 games and has a Hart Trophy (amongst other hardware) on his mantle.
Will Forsberg be a difference-maker here in 2011, though? Can he provide a much-needed spark to the Avs?
The problem isn’t the offense in Colorado; the team ranks sixth in the league in scoring and has solid depth up front. The back end has rather been the issue all year for the Avs, sitting 27th in goals against. Craig Anderson is a shell of what he was a year ago, while the blueline has glaring holes.
The health of Forsberg down the stretch will determine how much of a difference he can make. Since you just don’t know when the foot problems will haunt Forsberg again, along with the uncertainty of where his game will be when in the lineup, I can’t imagine he’d put this team over the top.
With that being said, if he can at least show some signs of what he once was and be a calming influence to an otherwise young locker room, I think it’d be a successful ‘last hurrah’ in the NHL for Forsberg.
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