As the hockey world becomes drawn into the tumult of real-deal negotiations, the prospect of a 2012-13 season seems to be turning into a reality. With the new year on the horizon, the Philadelphia Flyers begin the process of evaluating the team's strengths and weaknesses.
One of the franchise's pressing questions is the status of team captain Chris Pronger, who missed most of the 2011-12 campaign with post-concussion issues and has been rumored to be on the verge of retirement, though GM Paul Holmgren has brushed the notion aside (via NBC Sports).
Pronger is a critical key for the Flyers as his role goes beyond merely manning his position in the defensive zone.
Here are five reasons why Chris Pronger's presence could be the difference between a Stanley Cup run and an early playoff exit for the Flyers.