In a move that shook the National Hockey League on both coasts and several rinks in between, Peter Forsberg has become a Philadelphia Flyer.
Forsberg, the 2003 Hart Trophy winner, took a roundabout way home to the team that first drafted him in 1991, agreeing to $11.5 million US yesterday, split equally over two years.
The Flyers were looking at trading the outspoken Jeremy Roenick to the Los Angeles Kings to keep under the salary cap, but nothing was confirmed.
It would give the TV-friendly Roenick a vast audience for his antics, Gretzky-like publicity for the Kings and a leg up in his post-hockey career. Michal Handzus might also be dealt to make room for Forsberg.
"The Flyers have a better chance of winning the Stanley Cup with Peter Forsberg than with Jeremy Roenick," Roenick told a Philly radio station.
It is believed six to eight teams were in the running for Forsberg, a marquee free agent in a year with so many big names changing teams.
But the Flyers, who just landed Derian Hatcher and Mike Rathje to boost their defence, reclaimed Forsberg after losing him in the Eric Lindros blockbuster trade with Quebec/Colorado.
"(The Flyers) got on the radar late, to be honest," agent Don Baizley said yesterday. "But (general manager) Bob Clarke got aggressive about it, and got really serious about it this morning."
Roenick was slated to earn $4.94 million this season.
Forsberg, 32, had lost some lustre the past couple of years due to injuries and a continual guessing game about ending his career back home in Sweden.
He played just 39 games in 2003-2004.