The Predators solidified their run for a Stanley Cup title Thursday by acquiring star forward Peter Forsberg from the Philadelphia Flyers for Scottie Upshall, Ryan Parent, and first-and third-round draft picks in 2007.
Forsberg had to waive his no-trade clause to allow the move to happen.
The trade came a day after a final meeting between Forsberg and Philadelphia GM Paul Holmgren in which once again it’s believed the Flyers asked him whether he would sign a contract extension. Forsberg, according to a source, once again said he’d rather wait until this summer before deciding whether he wanted to sign another contract. That’s when Holmgren decided he needed to move him in order to get something in return.
While Forsberg had long maintained his first priority was to re-sign with Philadelphia, contenders were actively asking the Flyers about his availability.
“When Peter Forsberg became available, to me he’s the ultimate playoff player,” said Predators general manager David Poile on a conference call. “This is a huge deal for our franchise.
“It sends a clear message to our community that we’re aiming to be the best that we can be.”
The 33-year-old Swedish superstar will become an unrestricted free agent July 1. He was playing out the final months of a two-year US$11.5-million contract he signed after leaving Colorado.
Poile, asked about whether he sought assurance that Forsberg would re-sign said “absolutely not. I have no assurances of that, nor did I ever seek that.”
“He strengthens our club up the middle and will provide another battle-tested, veteran voice. Adding a player of this calibre also sends a strong message to our fans that the Nashville Predators are prepared to compete at the highest level.”
Forsberg, a former NHL MVP who has been slowed this season by a chronically troubled right foot, had 11 goals and 29 assists in 40 games for the Flyers, his second season with Philadelphia after 10 years with Quebec and Colorado.
Upshall, 23, a left-winger from Fort McMurray, Alta., had two goals and an assist in 14 games with the Predators. Parent, 19, a six-foot-two defenceman from Prince Albert, Sask., was Nashville’s first-round pick from the OHL’s Guelph Storm in the 2005 NHL Entry Draft.
“We paid a lot,” Poile said. “But we did it because we believed it gave us that much of a better chance to compete for the Stanley Cup.”
Forsberg had a meeting with Flyers chairman Ed Snider on Sunday to discuss his future, but declined to comment the next day about the specifics of the meeting and refused to say whether he asked to be traded.
He had said that he didn’t want to address his future until he solved the issue with his right foot.
Forsberg has visited with doctors around the globe to find out why his foot hasn’t felt right in his skate, the health issue mostly responsible for keeping him out 16 games this season.
But since returning from an all-star break, Forsberg has three goals and nine assists in nine games.
Poile didn’t seem concerned about Forsberg’s health.
“I think everybody would acknowledge that Peter seemed more comfortable over the last few weeks with his skate,” said Poile.’
Forsberg was a late scratch for Philadelphia’s 4-2 loss to Toronto on Thursday night. The NHL-worst Flyers are 0-13-3 without Forsberg in the lineup this season.
On Monday night, Forsberg scored the go-ahead goal in the third period of the Flyers’ 6-1 win over the Detroit Red Wings.
The NHL trading deadline is Feb. 27.