Will he or won't he?
Flyers general manager Paul Holmgren returned home from Sweden yesterday every bit as uncertain about Peter Forsberg's status as when he left.
Forsberg may have instructed his agent, Don Baizley, to canvass offers for his services, but neither the 34-year-old center nor anyone else is certain he will return to the NHL this winter or spring. The center's ailing right foot continues to be problematic.
Holmgren, who spoke directly to Forsberg during his scouting mission in Sweden, cannot get a handle on his status.
"I honestly don't have a feel for what his decision will be, and I didn't get to see him skate," Holmgren said. "From talking to him, I'm not sure he is ready in his own mind. He doesn't seem to know if he's OK. When he's ready, he'll make a decision."
The Flyers are believed to have offered a two-year contract worth about $2.6 million. A number of clubs, including Ottawa, Detroit and Dallas - which has made a heavy pitch - are believed to have offered far more money.
What many people outside hockey don't seem to understand is that it's not about money with Forsberg. He has won a couple of Stanley Cups. He has won two Olympic gold medals and two world championships for Sweden.
He and his father, Kent, are infinitely wealthy in their off-ice businesses - among them, distributing the rights to Crocs footwear in North America. Forsberg doesn't need money. As one NHL executive said, "It has never been about money with Peter. It's about winning a championship."
Even though the Flyers have less than $2 million in space remaining under the $50.3 million salary cap, they could sign Forsberg for less than what Ottawa, Detroit and Dallas are offering.
Holmgren's primary mission in Europe, he said, was to scout 22-year-old Swedish forward Fabian Brunnstrom, who will be a free agent shortly. Some liken him to Ottawa's Daniel Alfredsson. Detroit, with a roster loaded with Swedes, has the upper hand in signing Brunnstrom, according to NHL scouts.
So much attention has been drawn to Brunnstrom that the NHL office reportedly issued a warning to all 30 clubs last month instructing them not to negotiate with the Swede until his season with Farjstads has ended.
Everyone wants Brunnstrom - but Forsberg is the more immediate goal.
"Who knows if Peter will come back and play at all," Holmgren said.
If he does, the betting money says he ends up back with the Flyers.