Commentary

Becker: Get what you can for Forsberg

Updated: February 25, 2008, 8:41 PM ET
By Pete Becker | ESPN.com

Peter Forsberg is a tease.

First, his agent announces that he's likely not going to play. Then, a few days later, Forsberg lets on that there's still time for him to change his mind. And now, approximately one week (and the loss of approximately half his standard-league ownership) later, not only is he back in the NHL, but he's back with the team he should never have left in the first place.

Peter Forsberg, Avalanche. It just fits, doesn't it? And this on top of the returns of Joe Sakic and Paul Stastny? It's mile-high times in Denver, indeed.

However, don't get your hopes up quite as high. Simply put, by the time Forsberg is making a big impact, your fantasy team's fate will already be sealed. This isn't a Scott Niedermayer or Teemu Selanne type story. Those two athletes voluntarily stepped away from the game after playing it at its highest level right into June. Forsberg had four points in five playoff games for the Predators and then headed to the operating room.

Forsberg is a fantastic player, when healthy. He's not. Healthy, that is. He is perhaps the oldest 34-year-old in the NHL, the result of years of physical abuse, both dished out and endured. Since signing with the Philadelphia Flyers after the lockout, Forsberg has missed games with groin, wrist, knee, ankle and back ailments, and even missed three games due to a concussion. During the past offseason, he had surgery on both ankles. He hasn't played more than 60 games since the 2002-03 season, having been limited to 39, 60 and 57 games. That said, he also averaged better than a point per game in those seasons, recording 55, 75 and 55 points, respectively. Again, Forsberg is a fantastic hockey player. When healthy.

That said, it's not as though he needs to be healthy all season. All he needs to do is get in shape for the playoffs and then last as long as he can. And therein lies the fantasy rub. It is not Forsberg's job to score a point per game through the month of March and carry your team to a championship. The Avalanche should be able to get into the playoffs with their current roster of returning stars; they are four points out of the eighth spot, but only six behind division-leading Calgary and the No. 3 seed. It is during the Stanley Cup playoffs that Forsberg will be able to make a difference.

If you held on to Forsberg this long, you owe it to yourself to see what his market value is. If you can get anything close to a point-per-game producer for him, or any sort of multicategorical impact player, pull the trigger. If you're in a league where he was dropped, then by all means, pick him up and stash him away, but don't hold on to him stubbornly, either, because Forsberg is a fantasy tease.

Pete Becker is a senior editor for ESPN.com Fantasy.

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