by PuckStopsHere on 02/14/11 at 06:58 PM ET
Today, Peter Forsberg has announced his retirement from hockey. He is a future Hall of Famer and as such, I want to write a career retrospective for him.
Peter Forsberg was born on July 20th, 1973 in Ornskoldsvik, Sweden. He grew up playing hockey in the Swedish system. He first came known to hockey scouts in 1989/90 when he played for Modo HK Ornskoldsvik in the Swedish Junior League. At age 16, he was nearly a point per game scorer with 27 points in 30 games. He was given a one game trial in the Swedish Elite League, where he scored an assist. His next season was a breakout year. Forsberg scored 102 points in only 39 Swedish Junior games. This earned him a permanent spot in the Elite League, where he put up 17 points in 23 games. This was good enough for the Philadelphia Flyers to draft him in the first round sixth overall in the 1991 Entry Draft.
Forsberg returned to the Swedish Elite League the next season. Forsberg was given a chance to play in some significant international tournaments. He played in both the World Junior Championships and the World Championships and was an important part of the Swedish attack in both tournaments. That summer, he was involved in the Eric Lindros trade. Forsberg along with Steve Duchesne, Kerry Huffman, Mike Ricci, Ron Hextall, Philadelphia’s 1993 (Jocelyn Thibault) and 1994 (traded to Washington - who selected Nolan Baumgartner) first round draft picks, $15 million and future considerations (Chris Simon) were traded to the Quebec Nordiques for Eric Lindros, in one of the most high profile trades ever.
Forsberg remained in Sweden and became a bigger star. He played again in both the World Junior Championships and the World championships. In the World Juniors he scored a remarkable 31 points in only seven games. A big part of this is was a mismatch game where Sweden defeated Japan 20-1, where he put up ten points. Forsberg was named the best forward in the tournament and was named to the tournament all star team. Forsberg returned for one more season in Sweden, where he remained a star. He was given a chance to play for Sweden in the 1994 Olympics. Forsberg put up eight points in eight games in the Olympic tournament and he scored the game winning goal in the shootout where Sweden won the gold medal against Canada. Forsberg intended to come to the NHL for the 1994/95 season, but that was delayed by the lockout. He remained in Sweden putting up 14 points in 11 games. When the lockout ended, Forsberg made his NHL debut.
Forsberg joined the Quebec Nordiques and had a strong rookie year. He scored 50 points in 47 games. He won the Calder Trophy as rookie of the year and made the all rookie team. The next year, Quebec relocated to Colorado and Forsberg was now a member of the Colorado Avalanche.
Forsberg had a breakout year scoring 116 points in Colorado. Forsberg played in his first all star game that season. He played in five in his career. Forsberg and Colorado won the Stanley Cup that season. Forsberg was one of the Colorado playoff stars with 21 points in 22 games. Forsberg played with Sweden in the 1996 World Cup, but Sweden was not successful in the tournament. Forsberg was one of the biggest star players in the NHL. In 1998, Forsberg made the NHL’s First All Star Team, as he finished second in scoring in the NHL. Forsberg also participated in the Nagano Olympics, the first Olympiad that the NHL stopped its season to participate in and the World Championships, where he made its all star team. He followed up that season in 1999 with another First All Star season. Forsberg had shoulder surgery that summer, which limited him to only 49 games the next year. 2001 saw Colorado win their second Stanley Cup. Peter Forsberg suffered serious injury during the run and was limited to only 14 playoff games. He had emergency surgery to remove his spleen. Forsberg sat out the 2001/02 season to recover from his injuries, but returned in time to play in the playoffs, where Colorado made the semi-finals. He led the playoffs in scoring despite not playing in the finals. Replenished, 2002/03 was his best season of his career. Forsberg led the NHL with 106 points and was named MVP. He made the First All Star Team and tied for the league lead in +/- rating. Injury limited him to 39 games in the following season.
Peter Forsberg played with Sweden in the 2004 World Cup of hockey and then returned to MODO hockey Ornskoldsvik to play during the second lockout of his career. Forsberg signed as a free agent in Philadelphia when NHL hockey returned. This put him in the market where he was first drafted but never played because he was traded in the Lindros deal.
In his first year in Philadelphia, Forsberg scored 75 points in 60 games played and won his second Olympic gold medal with Sweden. With unrestricted free agency approaching, midway through his next season, Forsberg was traded to the Nashville Predators for Scottie Upshall, Ryan Parent, a first round draft pick (which was traded back to Nashville and Jonathan Blum was selected) and a third round pick (traded to Washington - Phil Desimone was selected).
Forsberg sat out the majority of the next season with foot surgery. He returned just before the trade deadline after signing as a free agent in Colorado.
Forsberg struggled with further foot surgeries and tried to return to the NHL. He failed to get back during the 2008/09 season, where he played three games in Sweden. He managed 23 games in Sweden in 2009/10 with injury problems, though he participated in the 2010 Winter Olympics (the fourth of his career). He carried the flag for Sweden in the opening ceremonies. He continued his attempt to make a comeback and signed with Colorado in the mid 2010/11 season. He played two unsuccessful NHL games before deciding his career was over and announcing retirement.
Forsberg is one of the most talented players in NHL history, but injuries derailed his career. He only played 708 career regular season games. Forsberg is often looked at as a player who could have been an all time great if he stayed healthy. He was a very good player in the time he played in the NHL as an MVP and multiple time all star.
This leaves fourteen currently active hockey players who I consider future Hall of Famers regardless of what happens in the remainder of their careers. Here is my list:
I expect that there will not be any further retirements until the off season, but further players may make the list as more hockey is played.
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