No one knows how Peter Forsberg will fare in his return to the NHL. However, the nostalgics in us hope that he can provide at least one or two moments that make us feel like it’s ten years ago. We’d love to see him go end-to-end one more time and we’d probably go nuts if we saw him do “the Forsberg” in the shootout.
Of course, Forsberg’s return got us thinking about other players we’d love to see back in the NHL. However, we’re attempting to make this list at least somewhat realistic. Gordie Howe probably won’t be making a comeback at age 82. Mario Lemieux’s heart condition and back problems aren’t going to disappear overnight and we still can’t figure out how to reanimate Maurice Richard.
The players on this list are young and somewhat healthy enough that an NHL return is at least plausible.
Yes, Bure has serious knee problems, so maybe we’re throwing realism out the window right away, but if Forsberg can come back from an injury at 37, maybe Bure can return at 39. In all honesty, this won’t happen, but that doesn’t mean we can’t dream.
We’re trying to ignore the circumstances in which Palffy left the Pittsburgh Penguins and the NHL here. Palffy is currently 38 years old and playing professional hockey in Slovakia, so he can still play the game. He was an energetic, talented player during his NHL career and we’d love to see him return.
This one has nothing to do with on-ice performance. At 41, Roenick probably wouldn’t be a very effective NHL player. However, we’d like to see him back just to inject some badly-needed personality into the game.
41-year-old Sergei Fedorov is currently playing in the KHL and last played in the NHL in 2009 with the Washington Capitals. He had 33 points in 52 games that year, so it’s possible that he could still play at the NHL level.
This is our number one choice. The 38-year-old has played in the KHL since 2008, but his stats in his last few NHL seasons were impressive as well. In 2007-2008, Jagr had 71 points in 82 games. He had 96 in 2007 and 123 in 2006. If he’s a fraction of the player he was then, he’ll still be an above average NHLer. Jagr knows that people would like to see him back in the NHL, so he occasionally drops hints to taunt us. We hope he follows through next season.