Philadelphia Flyers: Peter Forsberg Snub a Blessing in Disguise
I know we're all basking in the success of the Flyers right now, but let's think back to February for a minute.
We're a couple of days before the trade deadline, checking Hockeybuzz and TSN at a rate bordering on obsessive for any possible information we could find about trades or signings.
The Flyers were reportedly looking for a puck-moving defenseman and were waiting on the word of someone else as to whether he would resume his career or wait until next season. More on him later.
We got neither. That "puck-moving defenseman" ended up being a trade for Jaroslav Modry, a smart, solid veteran defenseman who was the only plus on the Kings' bottom-of-the-barrel defensive corps that had Rob Blake, Lubomir Visnovsky, Tom Preissing, and Jack Johnson.
Modry has been a good addition to this team, but he is not quite what comes to mind when you think "puck-moving."
The other trade? Paul Holmgren flipped Alexandre Picard and a pick over to Tampa for Vinny Prospal. Many people didn't understand this move at first, because with Dan Boyle, a true puck-mover, and Brad Richards both reportedly on the way out of Tampa, we got the aging Vinny Prospal.
He's a good player, but he really took a back seat to St. Louis, Lecavalier, and Richards.
Meanwhile, that someone else, Peter Forsberg, decided it was a good career decision to sign with Colorado for the remainder of the season.
He felt Philadelphia was too injured and too young to be a contender, especially since they were in the midst of a 10-game losing streak.
Colorado, along with newly-added retread Adam Foote, was Forsberg's best prospect to win a Cup.
Let's take a look at what happened following the trade.
Vinny Prospal found a hockey soulmate in Danny Briere, who immediately snapped out of his slump upon being paired with Vinny.
Modry stepped in and provided a solid option on the injured defensive corps following the departure of Jim Vandermeer.
Carter stepped up literally right after the deadline passed and took all of the trade speculation with it, and filled the very large hole left by the injury of Mike Richards admirably.
He injured his groin two games after returning.
Since then, Forsberg became for the Avs what he was for the Flyers during the first half of last year: a distraction.
Forsberg, a great hockey player when healthy and a true class guy, continued to skip in and out of the lineup for the rest of his time with Colorado this year, right into the playoffs.
With the uncertainty surrounding Forsberg, Colorado got steamrolled by the Red Wings in four games, with the 8-2 loss in Game 4 as the exclamation point.
Back here on the home front, Holmgren essentially traded Alex Picard for the playoffs. True or false: If the Flyers did not acquire Prospal, the Flyers would not have made the playoffs. Chew on that for a minute.
So here we are, sitting pretty as the only team assured of a spot in the NHL's version of the Final Four besides the league-leading Detroit Red Wings.
Think about this: it took the sixth-seeded Flyers less time to finish off the top-seeded Habs than it is taking the second-seeded Penguins to finish off the fifth-seeded Rangers.
Would that have been possible if we had signed Forsberg, accepting the uncertainty around him that truly doomed our 06-07 season rather than trade Prospal?
Don't count on it.
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