Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Forsberg a Senator?

The big hockey news on is that the Ottawa Senators are interested in signing Peter Forsberg. Is this a good move for GM Bryan Murray and the Sens as they attempt to make another serious run for the Cup?


Forsberg is a warrior on the ice, a proven winner. He has won the Triple Gold of hockey (Stanley Cup, Olympic Gold, and World Championships) – twice. He is arguably the best player to come out of Sweden. He can score, and he can help to lead the way to the Stanley Cup, since there are so few rings in the Sens’ dressing room. Any team would love to sign this guy.

But…(and this is a big ‘but’)

Forsberg has had some serious foot and ankle injuries lately which has caused him to miss a lot of games. He had surgery last month, but who knows if it will cure his problems. He won’t be ready to play for awhile, and when he does return to the ice - assuming he doesn’t retire – who knows how the foot will hold up. Will he be able to skate relatively pain-free? How will this affect his speed and agility on the ice? Will the least little bump re-injure his ankle? There are a lot of questions that cannot be answered yet, and likely won’t be answered until after he is signed.

A lot of teams could take the risk and sign Forsberg in the hopes that all will turn out, but this would be a very high risk signing for Ottawa. The Senators came very close to winning it all last season, and they are definitely one of a few teams that have the tools necessary to pull it off this year. If they sign Forsberg, they will have to do so for less than the $5+M that he received last season (given the unknowns surrounding his health), but they will still have to make room under the salary cap. Exactly which player do you unload to make room for Peter Forsberg? Wade Redden? Some have made this suggestion because he is a bit overpaid, but he is still one of the top defensemen on the team, and who would replace Redden? The forwards should be off-limits because that group seems to work well together, and Bryan Murray will need them all in case Forsberg misses half of the season. No, the Senators will likely have to try to move backup goaltender Martin Gerber to free up some money under the cap.

So, here’s my humble opinion: if Bryan Murray can move Martin Gerber, and if Forsberg is willing to take a cut in pay for (1) the chance to prove that he can still play and (2) to (possibly) win the Cup, then I say sign Forsberg. Just don’t mess with what looks like a good team, because Ottawa fans do not deserve more disappointment.

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