Forsberg signs one-year deal
By Adrian Dater, Denver Post Sports Writer
Peter Forsberg will be a member of the Avalanche for at least one more season.
Forsberg, the NHL's most valuable player this past season, signed a one-year, $11 million contract with the team today. This deal ties him with Jaromir Jagr as the highest-paid player in the NHL entering next season.
"I'm excited to be staying in Colorado and looking forward to the 2003-04 season," said Forsberg. "I'm truly enjoying myself in Denver. The team has had tremendous success since 1995, and I'm expecting a very exciting and successful season. It will be challenging and everyone should be up for it."
The Denver Post reported in Wednesday's editions that Forsberg had decided to return for another season with the Avs, and the team made it official later in the day.
Forsberg led the NHL in scoring in 2002-03, with 106 points and a co-league leading plus-52. He made $9.5 million on the last year of his contract.
This could be Forsberg's final season in the NHL, however, as there is a good chance of a work stoppage in the league after next season, and Forsberg has said he will play the final year of his hockey career for MoDo of the Swedish League. Forsberg deliberated about whether to play even this coming season or not.
This season will be Forsberg's 10th in the NHL.
"As everyone knows, Peter is an important part of our team and we are thrilled that he has decided to commit to our hockey club," said Avalanche president and general manager Pierre Lacroix. "He is a world-class athlete and we know our fans will be delighted that he will be skating in front of them next season."
Forsberg signs one-year contract
By John Marshall, Associated Press
June 25, 2003
Colorado Avalanche star Peter Forsberg will be back for at least one more season after agreeing to a one-year deal today.
After becoming the first Swedish player to earn the Hart Trophy as league MVP last year, Forsberg said he wasn't sure if wanted to play a 10th season with the Avalanche or return to his homeland.
Forsberg was eligible to become a restricted free agent next Tuesday and has indicated he would like to finish his career in Sweden, where his father coaches MoDo of the Swedish Elite League. He put off his decision until after the World Hockey Championships last month in Finland and has spent the rest of the offseason in Sweden.
Forsberg's agent, Don Baizley, said he thought Forsberg planned to come back all along but just wanted to make sure it was the right decision.
"I suspect that in his mind he was leaning to that as a possibility, but he really wanted to be sure that he was ready to do everything that goes with it," Baizley said. "The only way he could be would be to get away and get back to his roots, so to speak, and think it through. Once he got back, he decided `Yeah, I'm ready to do it.'"
Forsberg signed a deal believed to be worth about $11 million, including signing bonus, but Baizley said there are no guarantees once that contract ends.
"I suspect this will be an annual event with him," Baizley said. "I don't think Peter knows how long he's going to play. I think he's going to take it a year at a time."
Forsberg has been one of the NHL's best two-way players since entering the league in 1994-95, the franchise's final season in Quebec before moving to Denver.
With a rare combination of grace and power, Forsberg won the Calder Trophy as the league's top rookie and was named to the All-Star team seven straight years. He has scored at least 80 points six times in his career, including more than 100 twice, and helped the Avalanche win Stanley Cup titles in 1996 and 2001.
But injuries have taken a toll in recent years.
Forsberg was knocked out of the 2001 playoffs with a ruptured spleen and missed the 2001-02 season after undergoing surgery on both feet.
Forsberg did return to lead the league in scoring during the 2002 playoffs, but the physical toll and Colorado's first-round loss to Minnesota in this year's playoffs had him contemplating retirement from the NHL at 29.
"I'm excited to be staying in Colorado and looking forward to the 2003-04 season," Forsberg said in a statement. "I'm truly enjoying myself in Denver. The team has had tremendous success since 1995 and I'm expecting a very exciting and successful season. It will be challenging and everyone should be up for it."
Forsberg had arguably his best season last year, becoming the first player in team history to lead the league in scoring with 106 points. He also led the league with 77 assists and tied teammate Milan Hejduk for the best plus/minus rating in the NHL at plus-52.
Colorado was 15-2-4-1 when Forsberg scored a goal last season.
The news of Forsberg's return was a relief to the Avalanche, who already lost goalie Patrick Roy to retirement earlier this year.
"As everyone knows, Peter is an important part of our team and we are thrilled that he has decided to commit to our hockey club," general manager Pierre Lacroix said in a statement. "He is a world-class athlete and we know our fans will be delighted that he will be skating in front of them next season."
Forsberg has 198 goals and 488 assists in 541 career games. He has 44 goals and 72 assists in 103 playoff games.