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Future Hall Of Famer Peter Forsberg Retires

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:

Martin Brodeur
Zdeno Chara
Sidney Crosby
Sergei Fedorov
Dominik Hasek
Jarome Iginla
Jaromir Jagr
Nicklas Lidstrom
Mike Modano
Alexander Ovechkin
Chris Pronger
Mark Recchi
Teemu Selanne
Joe Thornton

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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Comments

SnLO's avatar

Really???? If Rosby were to not play another NHL game, he’s in the HOF??? I don’t think so (same goes for Ovechkin).

Posted by SnLO from beyond the M-1 on 02/14/11 at 07:36 PM ET

PaulinMiamiBeach's avatar

LOL

did anyone not see this coming?

Posted by PaulinMiamiBeach on 02/14/11 at 07:50 PM ET

Avatar

Really???? If Rosby were to not play another NHL game, he’s in the HOF??? I don’t think so (same goes for Ovechkin).


I would suggest that this is because you perceive reality differently than almost any other known sentient being. For the prosecution:

Crosby: Hart/Art Ross in 06/07, Rocket Richard last year, one SC, one olympic gold and a career PPG of 1.39 in regular season and 1.32 in Postseason.

Ovechkin: TWO consecutive Harts, One Art Ross, Two Rocket Richard, The Calder, FOUR 50-goal seasons plus one of 46, including one of 65, for a career PPG average of 1.29/1.43. Plus some assorted IIHF hardware which does not interest north americans unless they win it.

Crosby/Ovechkin have been the two best players over the last 5 years without any real competition. A majority of players in the HHOF weren’t the best players in the world at any time. Messier? No. Ciccarelli? Njet. Salming? Nope. Paul Henderson? Are you f*cking kidding me?

THE PROSECUTION RESTS.

Posted by Mr. Fnytelhatt on 02/14/11 at 08:47 PM ET

Avatar

They are not hall-worthy.  That’s like saying Lindros was after 5 seasons.  I guess some Canadians would probably want Crosby and Lindros in based on their junior careers alone, but they don’t deserve it.

Posted by jkm2011 on 02/14/11 at 09:49 PM ET

PuckStopsHere's avatar

Its not the same as saying Lindros was Hall worthy after five seasons.  Sure one of those five was a Hart Trophy season (in a lockout year where we were limited to 48 games).  The main problem is that in five seasons, Lindros played 293 regular season games scoring 436 points (in a higher scoring era than we have today).

In his first five seasons, Ovechkin had 396 games played and 529 points.  Crosby had 371 games played and 506 points.

Lindros in a higher scoring era was 80 to 100 games behind the two after five seasons.  It took him longer to get to their level.  Some argue that because of injury he never did.

Posted by PuckStopsHere on 02/14/11 at 10:09 PM ET

SnLO's avatar

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying they aren’t on the path for HOF consideration. My disagreement stems from HOF consideration v length of career. IMO, high level of play must be sustained over a long period of time. Five to six years is not long, that’s college and some grad school. It feels long when you’re in it, but in the grand scheme of things, it’s short.
If they were to not play another game, I don’t think they warrant induction into the Hall. Or at least not until their deathbed and then receive a sentimental invitation based on thier short, but hot playing careers.
As it stands now, their careers amount to a flash-in-the-pan and stand in contrast to the careers of a majority of current HOF members. They need to sustain the high level of play for about another five years, and then I would agree, they are a deserving shoe-in.

Posted by SnLO from beyond the M-1 on 02/15/11 at 01:27 PM ET

Avatar

Why is Joe Thornton a lock PSH?

Posted by paulklos on 02/15/11 at 05:56 PM ET

PuckStopsHere's avatar

Joe Thornton is a former MVP who was the top scorer in the NHL in the last 10 years (2000-2009 or 2001-2010 - however you define a decade).  That is a solid set of Hall of Fame credentials.

Posted by PuckStopsHere on 02/15/11 at 10:41 PM ET

Avatar

Joe Thornton is a former MVP who was the top scorer in the NHL in the last 10 years (2000-2009 or 2001-2010 - however you define a decade).  That is a solid set of Hall of Fame credentials.

Still seems a little thin he lead in the time once and in only a year, with a three year period was he a top five. The MVP is a nice asset it just with that there are maybe 5 maybe a good 5 or 10 other players that have a decent argument if Thornton does. As locks go it a lot less than say Sergei Fedorov

Posted by paulklos on 02/16/11 at 12:34 PM ET

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imageThe Puck Stops Here was founded during the 2004/05 lockout as a place to rant about hockey. The original site contains over 1000 posts, some of which were also published on FoxSports.com.

Who am I? A diehard hockey fan.

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