Flyers sign Forsberg to two-year deal

Updated: August 3, 2005, 10:37 PM ET
Associated Press

PHILADELPHIA -- Peter Forsberg will finally play for the Philadelphia Flyers, who signed the former NHL MVP on Wednesday to an two-year, $11.5 million contract.

Peter Forsberg
Forsberg

The Flyers originally drafted Forsberg in 1991 but dealt him to Quebec in the Eric Lindros trade in 1992. Since then, Forsberg has become a seven-time All-Star and the league's most valuable player with the Colorado Avalanche in 2003.

"Peter Forsberg is one of the best players in the game," general manager Bob Clarke said in a statement. "We signed him knowing that he puts us over the cap and we will have to trade some guys now."

The Flyers scheduled a Thursday morning news conference at their practice facility in New Jersey. The Avalanche say they offered him the maximum they could afford, $13.5 million over four years.

"He had the offer and he chose to go to Philly," Colorado spokesman Damen Zier.

Forsberg helped the Avalanche win the Stanley Cup in 1996 and 2001, though injuries limited him to 39 games in 2003-04. Last year, he played for the Swedish Elite League.

When he's healthy, Forsberg can do it all. In fact, he became the type of dominant all-around player that Philadelphia hoped Lindros would become.

The move comes a day after the Flyers bulked up their defense by signing hulking blue liners Derian Hatcher, Mike Rathje and Chris Therien to free-agent contracts.

The Flyers had already created more room under the salary cap by buying out the contracts of veteran forwards John LeClair and Tony Amonte.

Forsberg was originally drafted sixth overall by the Flyers, but his rights were traded a year later with Steve Duchesne, Kerry Huffman, Ron Hextall, Mike Ricci, Chris Simon, two draft picks and cash to Quebec for Lindros.

To make room for Forsberg's salary under the cap, the Flyers were reportedly set to trade center Jeremy Roenick to the Los Angeles Kings. Roenick told Philadelphia sports radio station WIP he was expecting to be traded, though a Flyers spokesman said there was no deal to announce.

"The Flyers have a better chance of winning the Stanley Cup with Peter Forsberg than with Jeremy Roenick," Roenick told WIP.

Forsberg made his NHL debut and was the rookie of the year with Quebec in 1994-95 before becoming an All-Star with the franchise when it moved to Colorado.

Forsberg scored 21 points in 22 playoff games when the Colorado won its first Stanley Cup.

This was the second major defection for Colorado this week. Adam Foote, a defensive cornerstone of two championship teams, signed a three-year contract with the Columbus Blue Jackets on Tuesday.

While losing Forsberg and Foote chipped away at one of the best franchises in the league, the Flyers have shown they expect to make a serious run for the championship this year. Last season's lockout came at a tough time for the Flyers, who went 40-21-15 for 101 points and won the Atlantic Division in 2003-04. Their playoff run ended with a loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference finals.

It was the 29th straight season that ended without a championship for the Flyers.

Forsberg is known as Sweden's "Magic Boy" and is the first hockey player to appear on a Swedish postage stamp. He was a 1994 Olympic gold medalist and scored the winning goal in a shootout against Canada.


Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press

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