The Philadelphia Flyers traded Peter Forsberg to the Nashville Predators nearly five years ago this month.
In a transaction that was the precursor to a second deal between the teams that summer, general manager Paul Holmgren acquired two players and the Predators first and third round picks in the 2007 entry draft for Forsberg. He later returned the number one pick to Nashville in June for the rights to then-pending free agents Scott Hartnell and Kimmo Timonen.
The return of Foppa
The Flyers stunned the hockey world when they signed the free agent on August 3, 2005. I made and received a number of calls about the move on that day. Every family member and friend was understandably excited about the news.
However, one old acquaintance was less than thrilled to be informed of it. That person, like some who are unable to hold the place of professional sports in its proper perspective, responded with a mental knee-jerk assessment that was inaccurate to say the least.
The players that fans root for aren't family members, or friends. They are entertainers, who should be thought of in that way.
Foppa's return to the team that originally drafted him was huge news.
Back in the day
Forsberg's place in Flyers history was one of unrealized dreams. Their first round 1991 draft pick was included in a massive package that was sent to the Quebec Nordiques (who later became the Colorado Avalanche) in June 1992.
Of course that trade for Eric Lindros resulted after a wild series of meetings Nordiques owner Marcel Aubut held with the Flyers and New York Rangers. His conversations resulted in him agreeing to a deal with both teams. But, an appointed arbitrator subsequently decided that Lindros was property of the Flyers.
Forsberg went on to average 1.25 points per game in a career that included him winning the Stanley Cup with the Avalanche in 1996 and in 2001. His ice exploits forever deepened the question as to what would have happened if the Rangers had been awarded number 88 and the Flyers would have kept the player who wore number 21 for the Avalanche.
Forsberg's number was retired by Colorado at the start of this season, an event that likely would have taken place in Philadelphia if he hadn't been allowed to leave the team all the way back when. Regardless, those who are balanced fans of the sport remain appreciative of what he accomplished during a fabulous career.
Sean is based in the Philadelphia region. He has written professionally for over two decades and is currently a Featured Contributor for Yahoo! You can follow him on Twitter @SeanyOB and also read his daily Sports Blog: Insight
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