39-Year-Old Defenseman – Philadelphia Flyers
Chris Pronger Contract Information:
Signed a seven-year, $35 million contract extension with Philadelphia in July of 2009. Previous contract was set to expire in the summer of 2010.
Flyers GM Paul Holmgren openly acknowledged Tuesday that Pronger's career is over due to his concussion issues, the Philadelphia Inquirer reports. "I'll say it; Chris is never going to play again," Holmgren said. "I have no problems saying it."
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RotoWire's Preseason Outlooks
The Flyers’ coaching staff acknowledged over the summer that Pronger is still experiencing headaches stemming from a concussion that has kept him off the ice since November of 2011. There is a strong chance Pronger will never dress in orange and black again, but fantasy owners should keep an eye on his health. When Pronger’s on the ice, he is an assist machine, but there aren’t many points to be scored from the press box. Pronger was playing nearly at a point-per-game last season before the injury in November.
Pronger is valued as the top defenseman on a gritty Flyers team and his presence was sorely missed at the end of the regular season last year. He missed the last 16 games due to a broken hand he suffered on March 17. The former Bobby Clarke trophy (team MVP) played in 50 games last season, and scored four goals, but had 21 assists and a steady plus-7 rating. Pronger also underwent back surgery in the offseason but is expected to return in time for training camp. If he can stay healthy, Pronger is still a key asset to a team that added Jaromir Jagr and is now entering his 17th year in the league.
Pronger, who will turn 36 in October, just continues to be a productive NHLer and fantasy option. He hasn't recorded fewer than 40 points in a full season since the 1997-98 campaign, and his 55 points last year suggest that he's not slowing down quite yet. He's managed double-digit goals and 30-plus assists in each of the past six seasons. While their might be younger, higher-upside options on the blue line than Pronger, there's few that can provide the type of consistency he's brought throughout his entire career. Philly has enough talent on the ice that finding space and goal scorers shouldn't be a problem this season for Pronger - meaning his stats shouldn't fade as he inches closer to age 40. Additionally, Pronger underwent knee surgery in late July, but it isn't thought to be serious enough to impede him heading into camp.
With a large contract worth seven-years and $35 million, Pronger will be leaned on as the go-to-guy to get teh Flyers over the hump in the Eastern Conference. His playoff and Stanley Cup winning experience will be relied upon as the Flyers battle it out in one of the NHL's toughest divisions. Pronger is as solid as the come in every department; he can hit, move the puck and play effectively on the power play. Bottom line is that he is a presence on the blue line and the Flyers are counting on big things from Pronger in 2009-2010.
Despite a very lackluster 2007-08 campaign and the return of Scott Neidermayer for another full season, Pronger remains the Ducks' best fantasy option on the blue line. Pronger missed eight games down the stretch after apparently stomping on Vancouver's Ryan Kesler and being suspended by the league. He still finished with 72 games - six more than his first season with the Ducks - but his production fell from 59 to 43 points while he dropped from a plus-27 rating in 2006-07 to a minus-1 last season. As for the positives, Pronger still has plenty of zip on his shot, as he notched double-digit goals for the fourth straight season. We'd hardly be surprised by a bounce back campaign, and 60 points are within reach if he's able to stay healthy and avoid incidents resulting in additional suspensions this season.
Pronger is one of the elite defensemen in the NHL and was one of the main reasons that the Ducks took home the Stanley Cup last season. Pronger had one of his best offensive seasons of his career, with 13 goals and 46 assists in only 66 games. This was good enough to tie for sixth in the league among blueliners and his point totals could rise (as will his ice-time) this season with the uncertain future of Scott Niedermayer. Pronger is top-notch in his own end too, as shown by his plus-27 rating, and this is good news for fantasy owners because it means he is hardly ever taken off the ice. If Pronger can stay healthy this season he should have a career year and is definitely worth a top-5 defense pick.
Pronger had an amazing 2005-06, scoring 56 points in 80 games and helping carry the Oilers to the Stanley Cup Finals. If Pronger is paired with Scott Niedermayer, the Ducks will have an incredibly potent blue line. Pronger should see much of the same production in 2006-07, if not a little bit of a bump.
What's to say that hasn't been said about one of the game's elite players? Pronger is extremely reliable defensively, can check with the best of them, quarterback the powerplay, and put some serious points on the board. He'll be one of Edmonton's top point producers as well as one of the top scorers from the blueline in the league overall.