Peter Forsberg was only a member of the Nashville Predators for a short time, but he still made his mark as one of the greatest to ever sport a jersey in Music City.
On Friday night in Los Angeles, Forsberg was named one of the NHL's 100 Greatest Players of all-time at the NHL100 ceremony, part of the NHL's Centennial celebration to kick off the 2017 NHL All-Star Weekend.
"For me, it's kind of a little borderline [to be part of this group] looking over the Hall-of-Famers over there," Forsberg laughed after the ceremony. "But I'm really thrilled to be here, I flew in from Kenya this morning to be here, so for me, it's big to be part of this group."
It was Feb. 15, 2007, when Predators General Manager pulled off the deal with the Philadelphia Flyers to bring Forsberg to Nashville. He only skated in 17 regular-season games for the Preds - plus five more in the playoffs - but even while battling injuries, Forsberg averaged almost a point-per-game in a Predators jersey.
"It's a deal that, we gave up a lot, but I have no regrets on that deal at all," Poile said. "To me, it really turned our franchise to a higher level. When he came in, and I used this analogy when we made the deal, it was like we were dealing with a rock star. Our fan interest hit the highest peak it had ever hit, and he was one of those guys who everybody wanted to meet."
A goaltender for Preds when Forsberg was acquired, Chris Mason recalled what it meant to add a player like that to the club at the time and the memories of playing on the same team with a hockey legend.
"We were just excited," Mason said. "I was rooming with Shea Weber at the time, and we just couldn't believe we were getting Peter Forsberg, a player of that stature to go along with the team that we had. It was just pure excitement.
"He has a presence about him. When you first saw him go on the ice, he's such a hard-nosed player, and just the work ethic and the grit and the skill, I felt like a little kid again. I was just on cloud nine having a ball with Paul Kariya and Peter Forsberg on the ice."
Mason was struck by the level expectation Forsberg had for himself every night, even with the injury issues he was battling at the time. And for as determined as Forsberg was on the ice, he was equally as humble off of it.
"People often put players like that on a pedestal and think that they're different than anybody else, but he was just a regular, nice guy," Mason said of Forsberg. "He was such an awesome guy and he took time and got to talk to all the young guys and the rookies and really went out of his way to make sure everyone felt comfortable around him. I really enjoyed being around him."
As Poile says, Forsberg, at that time, was the greatest player to have every played for Nashville. And even to this day, to have a player like him - a member of the Hockey Hall of Fame - on the alumni register, is something that will be remembered forever in franchise history.
"There's not a team that wouldn't want Peter Forsberg on their team," Poile said. "If you talk about winners, you talk about playoff players who you'd want on your side, who was the hardest to play against and who you'd bet on, Peter Forsberg would be right at the top of everybody's list."
Now almost 10 years since he wore the Predators logo, Forsberg is following a new crop of skaters, especially a handful of Swedes, who call Nashville home. And he's especially impressed with one player in particular who doesn't share a bloodline, but still a legendary surname.
"I like the way he plays," Forsberg said of current Preds winger Filip Forsberg. "I like the way he approaches the game. He's always professional, really good shape, good teammate, so I think Nashville's going to enjoy having him play there for a long time."
Yes, his time in Nashville was short. But in that small window, he developed a place in his heart for a hockey club he wouldn't mind seeing make a run in the springtime.
"It was a great city to play in," Forsberg said. "Unfortunately we got knocked out in the playoffs when I was there, but they're back on their feet and they're really doing well every year. They're up there and hopefully this year they can make it further in the playoffs and go all the way… I like when they do well."