So much for Peter Forsberg going to a Stanley Cup contender. So much for Forsberg helping to put a team with Stanley Cup visions over the top.
The Colorado Avalanche, who won The Forsberg Sweepstakes (official name) the day before the trade deadline, might not even make the playoffs this season. And if they do, is there anyone out there who really believes that, even with Forsberg in its lineup, the Avalanche will seriously contend for a Stanley Cup anytime soon?
This is a nice, safe landing spot for Forsberg. By going to the Avalanche, he won’t risk disappointing anyone because there is no expectation level in Denver these days. If the Avs squeak into the playoffs and perhaps win a round, they will have exceeded expectations.
Forsberg loves Denver and undoubtedly feels an emotional pull to the Rocky Mountains, but we waited all this time for this? We waited for him to park his talent with a 10th-place team that has almost no hope of winning?
How convenient. Now Forsberg doesn’t have to live with the expectation of putting a team such as Ottawa, Detroit or Anaheim over the top and he won’t risk being exposed too much for what he has become – a broken down player who simply cannot withstand the rigors of playing regularly in the NHL.
He goes back to a market where he is adored and will be extremely forgiving if it turns out that he can’t turn the Avs into a playoff team. If he were to play for a team that was expected to go deep into the playoffs, he’d have to be mentally and physically ready to play the most grueling brand of hockey every other night for two months straight.
But this way Forsberg comes and plays for a month or so, gets a nice long rest this summer and will likely come back to play for Colorado next season.
Great work if you can get it. And a nice little payday to go with it. Forsberg signed a pro-rated contract worth $5 million, meaning he’ll pull down about $1.13 million for the balance of the season.
Here’s a guy who, since missing the Stanley Cup final due to injury in 2001, has missed an average of 36 games a season, not including the 63 and counting he has skipped this season already.
There’s no guarantee he’ll even be able to deliver for the Avalanche this season. Wasn’t it just last week that Forsberg’s agent, Don Baizley, said that Forsberg’s bothersome foot would make it “highly unlikely” he’d play in the NHL this season?
But not to worry. By signing with the Avalanche, Forsberg has already guaranteed the expectations won’t be that high for him anyway.