The Predators solidified their run for a Stanley Cup 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 will become an unrestricted free agent July 1. The 33-year-old Swedish superstar was playing out the final months of a two-year US$11.5-million contract he signed after leaving Colorado.
While he had long maintained his first priority was to re-sign with the Flyers, contenders were actively asking the Flyers about his availability.
“Peter Forsberg is one of the NHL’s most complete players and the ultimate competitor, a consistent winner who has year in and year out been a difference-maker in the Stanley Cup playoffs,” Predators general manager David Poile said.
“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.”
The former MVP, who’s been slowed this season by a chronically troubled right foot, had 11 goals and 29 assists in 40 games for the Flyers, his second 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 for the Predators. Parent, 19, a six-foot-two defenceman from Prince Albert, Sask., was the Predators’ first round pick from the Ontario Hockey League’s Guelph Storm in the 2005 NHL Entry Draft.
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.
The foot injury kept him out 16 games this season, but since returning from an all-star break Forsberg has three goals and nine assists in nine games.
Forsberg was a late scratch for Philadelphia’s game against 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.