Monday, February 18, 2008

Peter Forsberg, a Washington Capital?

Currently the Capitals are sitting two points out of first place in the Southeast. There are 22 games remaining on the schedule. Most likely, they are going to have to win the division to make the playoffs. They have some of the best young talent in the league. They have four veteran players on the injured list and the rebuild is over. What do the Capitals do to put themselves into the true playoff picture? Enter Mr. Peter Forsberg. The ultimate in late season rental players with a price tag the Caps can handle. No draft picks to give up, no young talent to send away, just cold, hard 2008 salary cap cash. Apparently, this week he will decide if he can play this season and, if he can play, you can be sure every team in the league will be vying for his services. According to NLSCAP.com, the Caps have the third most cap room of any team right now with about $14.7 million in remaining salary. So money shouldn’t be an issue. What about the team, would he fit in? With the loss of Michal Nylander the Caps have been searching for a second high caliber center to play either of the top two lines. I am sure “Ovechkin from Forsberg” and “Semin from Forsberg” sound pretty much the same. He’s a guy who seems fits into the Bruce Boudreau philosophy of winning by scoring more than your opponent. He is a gritty player who is not afraid to punch the game’s premier Pre Madonna right in the chops. He is highly respected among the players and is driven to succeed. What does Washington have to offer? The ability to play in an offense geared to score, a first line left wing that knows how to score goals, and a young Swedish center that has been called “The next Peter Forsberg.” The Caps are in position to win the Southeast Division and the #3 seed in the East. That would give them a first round series with the #6 seed with home ice. The East is not considered to be the stronger conference this year but the Caps have another advantage in conference. They have beaten the #1 team in the east four times this year. He could very well push them over the top at just the right time. Peter is also very patriotic to his native Sweden. It would give him the chance to work with young Nicklas Backstrom and instill some of his hockey wisdom. What’s the downside? He might get hurt. He has been injury plagued for the past few seasons with bad ankle problems. That is really it, and the money you have to pay him. But even with those injuries he still put up a point per game average when he did play. The other thing the Caps have going for them is they do not need to sign him to a long term deal just this season. Offer him a no strings attached rest of the season plus playoffs deal then go from there. The Capitals are going to need a bunch of cap room to sign their restricted free agents this year so this situation may not happen again. What if it doesn’t work? Then the Caps are out a little cash but you will have credit with the fan base. They went out and got the very best available to deliver on your plan, and they did it with the least possible risk. If you really want to see hockey bandwagon fans come out of the woodwork just tell them Peter Forsberg is coming. Will the Caps do it? That is the big question. I sure hope they do because I think they have the right situation for him. A team full of weapons just suited for his game and a team that is on the upswing in which his presents will make the difference. What do you think?

Update: Per TSN, Forsberg will not return to the NHL this year.

2 comments:

Eli said...

It would sure be great, but Forsberg has publicly stated that he would prefer to return for (a) a legitimate Stanley Cup contender and (b) one of the teams he has already played for. He's been out golfing multiple times this season with Colorado's GM.

The Caps, just like every other team, should certainly give him a call and express their sincere interest, but I'm not sure I agree with your understanding of what it means when a rebuild is over.

I always thought that rebuilding teams hung on desperately to draft picks and prospects, while contending teams made strong pushes for championships at any cost.

Forsberg would be a decent pickup if he can get healthy, but I'd be more excited by Hossa, Fedorov, Sundin or, you know, anyone who is currently a professional hockey player or has one to two working feet. Maybe even Adam Foote.

Joe said...

eli,
I'm just saying the Caps have a hole in the middle with Nylander out and that the Caps should go after the best talent available and make a major priority to get him here.

And at this point in the season, I don't know that you can make an assessment of who the true Stanley Cup contenders are. Over the past 4 Stanley Cup Finals the seedings (East v West) have been '07 4v2, '06 2v8, '04 1v6 , '03 2v7 and there have 3 first time winners of the Cup. The Caps need to make the case that it is them.

I to agree there is quite a bit of other talent out there but there just doesn't seem to be that sense of urgency from the Caps. You never hear them as much as mentioned in a rumor mill with the big names. I would like to hear the team taken seriously and at this point, I would take Adam Foote in a heartbeat.

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