Reports indicate Peter Forsberg wants to play for MoDo again; What about another NHL run?


foppareturn.jpgLike some reverse Groundhog Day, no hockey summer seems complete without at least a little bit of speculation on fragile forward Peter Forsberg. Consider his often-injured groin muscle/wonky foot to be his answer to a groundhog’s shadow; when you read about his relative health you know we’re in the thick of the slow season for hockey news.

While there isn’t a trace of NHL relevance mentioned in this Tweet, Kevin Allen of USA Today probably made at least a few super-optimistic hockey fans salivate with the thought of another Foppa sighting.

Peter Forsberg is practicing with MoDo and is telling Swedish press he feels good and wants to play again.

Chances are he’ll only play in Europe, but if you’re a hardcore hockey fan you probably know the drill already. Some teams – especially former comfort zones such as Philadelphia and Colorado – will be linked to the sublimely-skilled-but-injury-prone Swede at some point this season. Perhaps it will be over the summer, but typically that happens later in the year when he can sign a smaller deal or around the trade deadline when teams would rather not give up a piece for a gamble. Chances are, some fantasy hockey leagues will see a late round Forsberg pick, too.

It’s easy to make fun of the process, but why not dream a little bit? It might be harder for a young (and now up and coming) team like the Colorado Avalanche to take another risk on him, but what about a cash-strapped contender? What if the Detroit Red Wings decided to employ a different former nemesis/opposing icon and match Forsberg up with fellow often-hurt-yet-super-talented Swedes Johan Franzen and Henrik Zetterberg? They could be the Broken Bull in a China Shop Line or something.

Anyway, I wouldn’t expect Forsberg to play another NHL game, but you never know. As frustrating as his injury problems can be, he still can be an impressively productive player during the rare occasions that he suits up.

Sure, he hasn’t played in the NHL since the 2007-08 season – and only for a brief time then – but he did amass 14 points in just nine games. He scored 30 points (11 goals, 19 assists) in 23 points for MODO last season, too. While that doesn’t always translate to the “biggest” league, it shows that he’s a point per game player through and through.

Of course, the catch is that he’s great at the “point per” part and not so strong in the “actually playing games” category. I’d be a liar if I denied an interest in seeing him appear in the NHL one last time, though. Don’t bet your house on a return, but feel free to dream of Forsberg feeding your favorite players this summer. That’s what unrealistic off-season visions are all about, anyway, right?

Raffl coverts PTO into one-year, $575K deal with Jets

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There’s another Raffl in the NHL.

On Tuesday, the Jets announced that Thomas Raffl — the older brother of Flyers forward Michael Raffl — has signed a one-year, one-way deal worth $575,000.

Raffl, 29, was in Winnipeg’s camp on a PTO after a lengthy career in Europe. He spent time playing in Sweden and his native Austria, most recently with powerhouse EC Red Bull Salzburg — last year, Raffl scored 53 points in 52 games for Salzburg and three in seven games for Austria while serving as team captain at the World Hockey Championships.

“We would like to recognize and express our appreciation to the EC Red Bull Salzburg organization for allowing Thomas and the Winnipeg Jets this opportunity,” Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff said in a statement.

With the Jets, Raffl projects to play in the bottom-six forward group, where he can utilize his 6-foot-4, 215-pound frame in a checking-slash-energy role.

For now, though, he’ll start out with the club’s AHL affiliate in Manitoba.

Flyers to start season with seven d-men; MacDonald sent to AHL

Andrew MacDonald, Matt Calvert
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Seven defensemen will comprise the Philadelphia Flyers’ opening-day roster, which the club finalized today.

Those seven are Radko Gudas, Michael Del Zotto, Luke Schenn, Nick Schultz, Brandon Manning, Mark Streit, and Evgeny Medvedev.

Not on the list? Andrew MacDonald, who has cleared waivers and been assigned to AHL Lehigh Valley. (That move allowed the Flyers to keep both Manning and youngster Scott Laughton.)

Also not on the list were prospects Shayne Gostisbehere, Robert Hagg, Sam Morin, Ivan Provorov and Travis Sanheim. The first three will start the season in the AHL. The last two have been sent back to junior.

But the opening-day roster is not where this story ends. How the Flyers’ defensive mix changes as the season progresses will be worth watching.

They’d no doubt love to move Schenn, a pending unrestricted free agent with a $3.6 million cap hit. He could also end up in the AHL, a la MacDonald.

Medvedev, the 33-year-old who came over from the KHL and put up five points in five preseason games, is another pending UFA. The club could either look to re-sign or flip him.

Might 37-year-old Streit be a chip worth cashing in at the deadline, especially if the Flyers aren’t in a playoff position on Feb. 29? He’s only got two years left on his contract.

Meanwhile, GM Ron Hextall will be watching pending restricted free agents Manning and Gudas closely. Are they part of the future?

So, lots of decisions to make in Philly as the blue line continues its much-needed transition.