Forsberg vs Sundin
With the Canucks amongst the fore runners courting Forsberg, there’s been a lot of comparison between the success, or lack of, from Sundin, and what Forsberg will likely bring to the table. I for one was against Sundin for a whole whack of reasons, but did come around and realize that in the playoffs, especially against the Blackhawks when it mattered most, he was our best player on the ice. With that in mind, these top 6 forwards, that are just available, do not come along that easily. You’re not going to find top 6 guys like this, of such calibre, who come for literally nothing (just salary, you’re not giving up picks, or trading anyone) any time else. It’s this reason you have to take a gamble on them, or at least try to take a gamble on them.
Forsberg while he comes with his problems, also comes with certain factors that Sundin never had. One of the biggest problems with Sundin was that he was off the ice for an entire off season and the first 42 games. While Forsberg’s been out of the NHL, he’s been training in the SEL and is in as near a game condition as he can be considering he’s playing in a tournament representing Sweden at the moment.
My other knock on Sundin was that he was 39. Forsberg checks in 3 years younger than that, and won’t creak every time he steps on the ice. Forsberg’s numbers are also volumes better than Sundin. Sundin’s numbers were a function of longevity, and no doubt the man was one of the best players the NHL has seen in his time. However, Forsberg’s put up considerably better numbers relative to the number of games he’s played in the NHL, and it was clear upon his return to NHL in his last go around that he can be a difference make on whatever team he plays be it the rock-em-sock-em robot Flyers have, or the we’re-always-just-a-hair-shy-of-the-playoffs Predators. He’s played in the Northwest, he knows the Northwest, and the way the Avalanche have changed, they’re no longer the team he played with, and they’re no longer a team he can go back to.
Forsberg’s foot is always a concern, and so was Sundin’s health, however with the caliber of player that he can be, it’s a gamble you can’t pass up on. Especially when you have a team with so many of the right pieces to be a contender. I’d liken him to Marian Gaborik. Gaborik is slated as almost more injury prone than Sami Salo, and yet when he’s healthy, as he is right now, we’re seeing him earn his 8 million dollar salary picking up points from all angles of the ice. Top 6 forwards don’t come for free. When they do, you can’t pass up an opportunity to snag one. The Canucks are a contender, we have a super star goaltender, we have a blue line amongst the NHL’s best, we have an offense that is firing on all cylinders, Forsberg has every reason to sign with us, and Gillis (if he’s as interested in Forsberg as he says he is) needs to make every play to get him.