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Old 01-30-2008, 06:51 PM   #337
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Default Forsberg Sweepstakes underway

The Peter Forsberg Sweepstakes have begun in earnest.

Sources tell TSN that Forsberg's agent Don Baizley has been given the green light by his client to start the process of talking to NHL teams that may be interested in the talented but oft injured Swedish forward who is making one final attempt to overcome troublesome and chronic foot problems.

But it should be made clear that beginning the process of talking to NHL teams - which Baizley has reportedly done with a number of franchises - about a potential contract is not to be confused with a firm commitment from Forsberg that he's ready to return to the NHL.

If all continues to go well with Forsberg's training he's currently skating in practices only with MoDo of the Swedish Elite League he could provide that next level of commitment in the next week or so, although with Forsberg's history, there's no sense trying to predict that date.

All indications are that Forsberg is reacting positively to a surgical procedure done to his foot in December, which kept him off the ice entirely for a five week period. But he recently, in the last week or so, began skating again and, so far, it appears to be progressing on the right track.

Could he experience setbacks, as he has in the past? Certainly. And Forsberg has made it abundantly clear this is his last attempt at trying to resurrect his NHL career. So it would seem to be all or nothing this time around.

But if all continues to go as well as it has, sources suggest Forsberg will need to make that next level of commitment in the next week or two that he is going to try coming back with an NHL team. Many of the NHL clubs interested in Forsberg have expressed a desire to know well before (a week or two) the trade deadline of Feb. 26 whether he is coming back or if their team is seriously in the running, because many of the clubs will have to pursue other trade opportunities and will need some time to do that.

So the best guess, and it's only that for now, is that the Forsberg Sweepstakes could be wrapped up in the next two weeks, perhaps as early as the next week.

There is a deadline in the Swedish Elite League of midnight local time Thursday night to sign with an SEL team in order to play for the balance of the Swedish season, but by signing with a Swedish team, SEL rules would prohibit that player from playing in the NHL this season. So it's extremely doubtful, if not out of the question, Forsberg would sign with MoDo before the deadline.

In order to be eligible for the Stanley Cup playoffs, Forsberg would have to sign with an NHL team prior to the trade deadline of Feb. 26. Technically, he could sign after the trade deadline but would only be eligible to play regular season games and that certainly isn't his goal.

There is no shortage of teams that would have interest in Forsberg. Those who might like to take a run at him include: Anaheim, Calgary, Colorado, Detroit, New York Rangers, Ottawa, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, San Jose and Vancouver.

Forsberg might have a soft spot for Philadelphia and Colorado because he has played there before, but his best chance to win a Cup could be in places such as Detroit, Anaheim or Ottawa.

In any case, as long as Forsberg continues to progress on the skating front back home in Sweden, expect the Foppa Frenzy to increase dramatically in the days and week or two to come.
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