As a fan of the game of hockey and the NHL, I really hope that Forsberg's return does not turn into a massive flop. He was the best player in the NHL Post Gretzky-Pre Crosby/Ovechkin, and a role model to all of the young Swedish superstars that are taking over our league. Here is a look at some of the players of Forsberg's era that still contribute to the passion that unites us all.
Dwayne Roloson: Doesn't it seem that this guy only became good after the lockout, when he was already 35? He was in a platoon position with Manny Fernandez forever in Minnesota and did not have the chance to shine.All the respect to him, as he attempts to be the oldest goaltender to win a Stanely Cup.
Teemu Selanne: Points wise he has been more dominant than the players in the top 5. The only issue with Teemu Selanne is that we have not seen him as dominant in his later years, due to injuries. His points per game is still one of the best in the entire NHL, but with the constant concern that his groin will give in at any day, he does not have the same impact for his team. At the same time his points per game is at an absolute high. Remarkable!
5: Mark Recchi- This man can still flat out play. He beat out Teemu Selanne for this spot because he is 43 years old! He is second on the Bruins in points, and fifteenth in the NHL in +/-. If you are in a fantasy league that calculates GWG, their may be some secret value here, as Recchi is third in the NHL in that category. (The caveat being that they represent 60% of his total goals). Hopefully Recchi can stay healthy and continue to play at a high level. I just hope he does not ruin his legacy by playing until he is 48. "Cough cough Chelios."
4: Adam Foote- He needs to be on this list as a teammate of Forsberg on those dominant Stanley Cup teams. (Canada got screwed out of another Canadian team championship, I hate you Bettman). While this guy has slowed down, he is still the captain of a young and upcoming team, which can attribute a lot of their troubles to porous goaltending. (Giggy anyone?!?). His fantasy value is extremely limited, but he remains an important part of the Avalanche defence.
3: Brian Rafalski- As much as I don't like him as an American, after he singelhandedly beat Canada in the preliminary rounds this past year, compounded with his significant role in eliminating the Leafs about ten years ago. (We actually beat ourselves- six shots on goal in an elimination game are you kidding me!!) Aside from all of my frustrations, there is no denying the fact that he is just as significant a player as he was those many years back, and deserves recognition for this accomplishment. Fantasy owners also are still reaping the benefits of his ability to put points on the board. He is tied for fourth in the NHL in PPG amongst defencemen.
2: Martin Brodeur- While he had a really rough start to this season, a lot of that can be contributed to his horrible team play. His play lately has been picking up as well as that of his teammates, (especially kovalchuk) and barring injury, he will hopefully be able to pick up his game, rewarding the Devils as well as his fantasy owners. As the owner of almost every significant regular season record for goalies, I am confident that Brodeur will finally show his true form over the last thirty games.
1: Niklas Lidstrom- What can be said about this guy. He may be the best D-man in the history of the league, (Bobby Orr did not have a full career to compare them) as well as the best European player. Captain Lidstrom is having a bounceback year from what was relatively a down year for by his standards. He is second in the NHL amongst defencemen in points, and first in PP points. The one surprising stat in his amazing numbers, is his relatively weak +/-. His -3 can be attributed to playing against the top teams best players. At this rate we may not be seeing another captain in Detroit for quite some time.