Last night it broke that the Canucks are one of two teams (the other being the Rangers) currently interested in acquiring the services of Swede Peter Forsberg. The amusing thing is watching the fans almost unanimously cry out against signing the 36 year old play maker. The thing is when you look at his numbers, injury prone or not, the numbers are so overwhelmingly convincing I don’t see why we wouldn’t want him a part of this team if we could afford to have him.
The center who has 13 NHL seasons under his belt has struggled with foot problems his career, but despite those injuries he’s been able to put up numbers that speak for themselves. In 706 NHL games he has 885 points, and in his tenure with four different NHL teams he has averaged over a point per game, and more impressively averages 0.9 assists per game in those 706 games played. The number which says the most to me though is Forsberg’s +/-. In 13 seasons the veteran center has never had a minus regular season, and in his career he’s a whopping +242. Even in Forsberg’s recent brief return to the NHL he managed in 9 games to get 14 points (1G and 13A) and was +7.
What makes this even more compelling is the Triple Gold Club member’s tie to the Sedins and fellow Triple Gold member Mikael Samuelsson. The Canucks Swedish contingent has the same pull they had with Mats Sundin. In the past Forsberg’s return to the NHL was influenced by the Avalanche a team he won two Stanley Cups with. However, with the retirement of Joe Sakic, and the Avalanche rebuilding, the Avalanche seem out of the equation which opens up the floor for other teams including the Canucks.
It’s no surprise that Gillis wants to go after Forsberg. He prescribes the theory of a fast and young team, but he also builds his team around one big name star to lead the team both on and off the ice. Last year he went after Mats Sundin, and this year it makes sense that he’s going after Forsberg. On a team that has only 2 players (Samuelsson and M. Schneider) who have gone past the second round of the playoffs, Forsbergs two cup rings and playoff experience is exactly what this young and fast team needs. While Luongo, Kesler and the Sedins have emerged as the leaders of the team, Forsberg’s addition in an offensive capacity with less pressure to lead, would expand the Canucks offensive capacity to a level that makes them a stronger contender.
With Demitra out indefinitely there’s an extra 4 million dollars floating around which could be used to entice Forsberg back into the NHL. With the injury problems the Canucks have been having, Forsberg could slot into the lineup without bumping a player that deserves a roster spot, out. If Forsberg goes down for any long period of time his hit comes off the cap and the Canucks lose nothing. They would gain only the play of a heavily decorated hockey player, and at that point if Forsberg were to go down it could not be any worse than the injury mess the Canucks find themselves in right now. Think of Forsberg as a better, cheaper, Marion Gaborik. It’s a gamble you’d be stupid not to make. The numbers speak for themselves. While a lot of people are already jumping to say “No” to Forsberg, I for one see the pros heavily outweighing the cons in this situation.