Peter Forsberg will make a decision about returning to the National Hockey League next week, and the Vancouver Canucks believe they are strong contenders for the former MVP's services.
Canucks general manager Mike Gillis said Friday that the team has been watching Forsberg since he played three games with MoDo of the Swedish Elite League earlier this year, and has two scouts at the Karjala Cup in Finland, where Forsberg is playing with the Swedish national team.
"Everything seemed positive," Gillis said of Forsberg's initial showing with Modo. "You've got to be interested when good players become available."
Forsberg, 36, will play two more games with Sweden before deciding whether his wonky foot is fit enough for the NHL.
"This is a test for him," agent Don Baizley said Friday. "He's got to find out where he's at, and once the tournament is over, he's got to decide what he'll do."
The Canucks have about $2 million (U.S.) in cap space, but are hoping that Olympic hosting duties, a Swedish heavy dressing room and Gillis's longstanding relationship with Baizley puts them on Forsberg's short list.
Reports indicate that AK Bars Kazan of the Kontinental Hockey League is also in pursuit, as are NHL teams such as the Colorado Avalanche, with whom Forsberg won two Stanley Cups, and the New York Rangers.
The 2003 Hart Trophy winner was sought by the Canucks two years ago, under former general manager Dave Nonis, but he chose to sign with the Avalanche. He scored 14 points in nine games, but has played in just six Swedish league games in the last 18 months.
"The dream is to return to the NHL, but we'll just have to see if I'm good enough," Forsberg told The Hockey News after the tournament opener. "I have to be honest with myself. I've made a few attempts and I don't want to play anywhere if I don't feel that I can reach a level I want to reach."
Forsberg suffered a stress fracture in his foot earlier this season while with Modo, and has undergone multiple surgeries and treatments for previous foot and ankle ailments.