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Peter Forsberg will make a decision about returning to the NHL next week, and the Vancouver Canucks believe they are strong contenders for the former MVP's services.

Canucks general manager Mike Gillis said yesterday his 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," his agent, Don Baizley, said. "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 Swede-heavy dressing room and Gillis's long-standing 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.

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