A year later Forsberg was the best prospect in the world. At the 1993 world junior championships he led all scorers with 31 points in only seven games. Naslund, meanwhile, was developing slowly in Pittsburgh, and in '96 he was part of perhaps the dumbest deal in NHL history. The Penguins traded him to the Canucks for Alex Stojanov, who went on to score two goals in 107 games before retiring.
Until last season Forsberg and Naslund talked frequently during the season and sometimes dined together. When the Avalanche was in Vancouver, Forsberg would go to his friend's house, where Naslund's wife, Lotta, would whip up some of their favorite Swedish dishes. For Forsberg, the food went down a lot better before the Canucks began developing into an elite team. The dinner invitations have since dried up, and the phone calls mostly have stopped. The rivalry between the two teams, and the players' divergent personal lives (the Naslunds have three kids, while Forsberg remains single), have shaded the friendship. Now they usually catch up with each other over the summer. Sometime in late July or early August, many of the NHL players from �rnsk�ldsvik—Samuel Pahlson of the Anaheim Mighty Ducks and Niklas Sundstrom of the Montreal Canadiens, in addition to Forsberg, Naslund and the Sedin twins-will start practicing together at MoDo and then go to Mama Mia's, an Italian joint in town with hockey memorabilia on the walls, where they'll indulge in spaghetti bolognese and good conversation.
Of course, this summer there will be lots to talk about. Naslund might mention that he finally topped the 100-point plateau. Forsberg might say that when Colorado star Joe Sakic missed 24 games in midseason, he took over the team—and the NHL—with 10 goals, 28 assists and a +25 rating, helping the Avalanche get 33 of a possible 40 points during that stretch. But those accomplishments will be rendered moot if either Forsberg or Naslund can talk about hoisting the Stanley Cup.