PHILADELPHIA (AP) -The Philadelphia Flyers finally traded Peter Forsberg, sending the star center to the Central Division-leading Nashville Predators on Thursday night for forward Scottie Upshall, defenseman Ryan Parent and two draft picks.
Forsberg, slowed this season by chronic right foot problems, can become an unrestricted a free agent at the end of the season, and the Flyers decided to get some value for the former NHL MVP rather than risk losing him for nothing.
"I'm a little shocked," Forsberg said. "I could not commit to another year because I don't know what's going to happen. I felt like I was being fair to give up the no-trade clause and they get something for me. It kind of worked out."
The 33-year-old Swede, in the final months of a two-year, $11.5 million contract, had 11 goals and 29 assists in 40 games for the Flyers this season, his second with Philadelphia after 10 years with Quebec and Colorado.
Forsberg, drafted by Philadelphia in 1991 but dealt to Quebec in 1992 in the Eric Lindros in 1992, is a seven-time All-Star and was the NHL's most valuable player with Colorado in 2003. He helped the Avalanche win the Stanley Cup in 1996 and 2001.
"It's not a fun day, even though I'm going to a good team," Forsberg said. "I'm sure I'm going to OK in a couple of days, but today is not a good day. I didn't sign here two years ago to stand here today."
Forsberg, a late scratch for Philadelphia's 4-2 loss to Toronto on Thursday night, has visited with doctors around the globe to find out why his foot hasn't felt right in his skate, the health issue mostly responsible for keeping him out 16 games this season. Since Forsberg returned from an All-Star break trip to visit a foot specialist in Sweden, he has three goals and nine assists in nine games.
"We went around and around with Peter for a fair amount of time about making a commitment to us for future years and it appears that he could not and would not do that going forward," Flyers general manager Paul Holmgren said.
"It was our belief in the long run for the betterment of the franchise for the future, this was something we needed to do. The timing of it may not have been great, but it was a good deal. A deal we thought we couldn't pass up."
Forsberg, expected to be in Nashville's lineup Friday night at St. Louis, said he wouldn't consider signing with any team before he can become a free agent July 1.
"Clearly, we have paid a high price for this," Predators general manager David Poile said.
Poile said he knows that it is gamble giving up so much for one player. But the Predators need to do very well in the playoffs to boost season-ticket sales and business interest in a non-traditional, Southern city, and they noticed what winning the Stanley Cup did for Carolina and Tampa Bay.
"All we can do is to put a winning team on the ice," Poile said. "We're doing that and hopefully, we'll have success, and ultimate success here in the playoffs. Let's see what kind of interest we have in Nashville. Let's see if Nashville turns out to be like Carolina and Tampa Bay and fill their buildings on a regular basis."
The Predators have little reassurance that Forsberg's foot will hold up.
"It was my understanding that Forsberg would not agree to be traded if he did not feel he could commit and be as healthy as possible to a new team. So I believe Peter Forsberg's an honorable guy," Poile said. "I believe his foot, his skate is in the best condition that it can be. Certainly in watching the last several games, I think he's played well."
Upshall, a 23-year-old left-wing, had two goals and an assist in 14 games for the Predators. He had eight goals and 16 assists for 24 points and 34 penalty minutes in 48 regular-season games last season for Nashville.
The 19-year-old Parent, a 6-foot-2 defenseman, was the Predators' first- round pick in 2005. He was a member of the Canadian teams that won the 2006 and 2007 world junior championships.
The Flyers also received Nashville' first- and third-round selections in the 2007 entry draft.
The deal completes a massive shakeup in the organization. The Flyers fired coach Ken Hitchcock only eight games into the season and longtime general manager Bob Clarke resigned, before returning to the organization in a different job.
Even with the fewest wins and points in the league, team chairman Ed Snider said the Flyers are not rebuilding.
"We don't feel that we're that far away when we're healthy," Snider said.