DENVER (AP) — Peter Forsberg is returning to the NHL.
The former league MVP signed a contract with the Colorado Avalanche on Sunday and joined the team on its charter to Phoenix. He had practiced with the Avalanche at the team’s facility before meeting with general manager Greg Sherman and signing the deal.
“Peter believes he can compete at the NHL level based on how his workouts went,” Sherman said. “He will provide additional leadership to our club and he will have an impact with this young team.”
The team did not release details of the contract.
Forsberg said he made the decision to return to the NHL following a three-year hiatus before Sunday’s practice.
“I was a little back and forth,” he said. “I kind of made up my mind before practice if nothing went wrong in practice I would see Greg.”
He said he doesn’t think he can play Monday night against the Coyotes and isn’t sure when he can get into an NHL game again.
“There are a few issues that have to be straightened out first,” he said. “I’d like to play, but I’m not sure how it’s going to go. I’m here, I came here to try and it’s going pretty good. I’d like to start playing and see if I’m good enough.”
The Avalanche are happy to have him back.
“When he’s available to us it will be a big boost for us emotionally and a big boost in our lineup,” coach Joe Sacco said. “He has a strong history in our organization, but we’re not doing it just for that reason. We’re doing it because we really believe that he can help us here down the stretch in the last 30 games. We all know how tight the conference is and the importance of these games.”
The 37-year-old Forsberg has been practicing with the team for two weeks in hopes of making a comeback. He wanted to determine if his chronically injured right foot could handle the rigors of the NHL. He said he had to get into game shape before he could make a decision.
“The first couple of practices were tough. Guys were flying around you and I felt like I was 47 instead of 37,” he said. “It might be the case when I get out playing, I don’t know, but it has been feeling better and better, and I came here to try and I want to play hockey. I love playing hockey. I’m not sure I’m going to be good. We’ll see when I get going.”
He last played for the Avalanche late in the 2007-08 season, appearing in nine regular-season games and seven playoff games before being sidelined by injuries.
He has played for MoDo in his native Sweden the last couple of seasons.
Forsberg was one of the NHL’s best players in his prime, helping the Avalanche win the Stanley Cup in 1996 and 2001. He won the Hart Trophy as the league MVP in 2003, when he led the NHL with 106 points in 75 games.
Forsberg has 885 points (249 goals and 636 assists) in 706 regular-season games with Quebec/Colorado, Philadelphia and Nashville.
(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)