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New CBA will determine if Avs can afford him

DENVER -- Peter Forsberg would love to play with the Colorado Avalanche if there is an NHL season this fall, according to his agent.

"That's his mind-set at the moment, and I don't think he's
looking to get out of Denver. He loves Denver," agent Don Baizley
told The Denver Post.

Peter Forsberg Forsberg

Forsberg, a former Hart Trophy winner as the NHL's MVP, played
for Modo in Sweden this past season. He suffered a wrist injury and
a concussion at the end of the season, but Baizley said the
concussion is healed and the wrist is nearly healed.

Whether Forsberg returns to the Avalanche depends on his
potential unrestricted free-agent status and still-pending
collective bargaining agreement between the players and team
owners.

Under the old agreement, Forsberg would have been eligible to be
an unrestricted free agent next season because of his age (he will
turn 32 in July).

"I haven't seen a proposal that would increase (the age
requirement)," Baizley said Monday. "I don't know how anybody can
know as a matter of certainty what anybody's going to do, both
clubs and players, until we see what the rules are going to be."

The Avalanche are committed to pay 11 players $30 million next
season, though the figure does not include the 24 percent salary
rollback that was part of the players' last offer to the league
before the 2004-05 season was canceled.

Even at a salary cap of $42.5 million per team -- part of the
league's last proposal -- Colorado might have a hard time fitting
Forsberg into its budget. Avalanche spokesman Jean Martineau
declined comment on any player negotiations.

"We are not allowed to negotiate with any player until a CBA is
reached anyway," he said.

The NHL and the players' association were expected to resume
talks in New York this week. The league has said it prefers a
direct relationship that ties player costs to league revenues,
while the union has mostly rejected that idea.

The NHL board of governors will convene Wednesday to get a labor
update and to discuss further the possible use of replacement
players should an agreement not be reached with the union.