NAPLES, Fla. – It appears Peter Forsberg will not be making a return to the NHL this season after all.
“The prospect of Peter having enough confidence about the foot/skate issue to play for the rest of the NHL season does not look good at this time,” Forsberg’s agent Don Baizley said in a statement Monday.
“As a result the teams have been advised that it is unlikely he will return to the NHL this season.”
The 34-year-old Forsberg is an unrestricted free agent. Philadelphia, Colorado, Ottawa, Vancouver, Chicago and Minnesota were among the NHL clubs who were believed to be interested with the Flyers largely seen as the favourite to re-acquire him.
Flyers GM Paul Holmgren got the call from Baizley on Monday afternoon.
“I’m disappointed for Peter more than anything,” said Holmgren. “I know how bad he wanted to come back and play with somebody in the NHL. It’s unfortunate. He’s been trying real hard to get himself back in position to come back and help somebody. It’s also disappointing for the league because I think he’s still an impact player and brings the league a lot of notoriety.”
Forsberg had to sign with a team by the Feb. 26 trade deadline to be eligible to play in the playoffs.
“Peter is a quality guy,” said Holmgren. “He didn’t want to leave anybody hanging. So now it gives teams who perhaps had other options to pursue those other options.”
The former NHL MVP hasn’t played this season because of lingering foot and ankle injuries. He skated in Sweden over the last two weeks trying to get ready for a return but still felt some discomfort.
“I had the impression he was having trouble getting comfortable enough to play,” said Anaheim Ducks GM Brian Burke. “To his credit, he could have come over and passed the physical and gotten someone for pretty good dough. …
“He’s been a warrior in our league and it was an honest way to deal with this in my opinion. It confirms my feeling that Peter Forsberg is a quality guy.”
Forsberg was captain of the Flyers before he was traded to Nashville in a deadline deal.
Injuries have plagued him in recent years and he hasn’t played more than 60 games in a season since suiting up for 75 games in 2002-03 with the Avalanche.
Forsberg won the Stanley Cup twice with Colorado.
He also helped lead Sweden to Olympic gold medals in Lillehammer in 1994 and Turin in 2006.