The Philadelphia Flyers may not have added any significant top prospects to their roster at the 2009 NHL Entry Draft in Montreal, but they did manage to reel in one of the biggest names thrown around.
The Flyers made the biggest splash, trade-wise, at the draft, acquiring Chris Pronger and Ryan Dingle from the Anaheim Ducks in exchange for Joffrey Lupul, Luca Sbisa, two first-round picks in 2009 and 2010, and a conditional third-round draft pick in 2010 or 2011.
The addition of Pronger gives the Flyers yet another level of something that they have been seemingly pursuing a lot of these days, toughness.
And say what you will of the 6'6'', 214 pound native of Dryden, Ontario but if there's one thing no one can deny, it's that that Pronger is one intimidating human being.
Encompass in the fact that the former Stanley Cup champion is also among the league's top point-producing defensemen, and suddenly there is plenty of reason for opposing teams to be shaking in their boots once Pronger steps onto the ice for the Flyers this coming season.
The Pronger trade comes right on the heels of the signing of Ray Emery just a couple short weeks earlier on June 10, 2009. It's a signing that gives the Flyers arguably their feistiest goaltender since Ron Hextall, also a former Stanley Cup Finalist.
Though the free agent signing period has yet to commence for the 2009 off-season, Flyers General Manager Paul Holmgren seems to already be on the cusp of being the mastermind behind perhaps the most stalwart group of hockey players in Philadelphia since the franchise's heyday in the 1970's.
Or perhaps it's just a coincidence that in the last four months, the Flyers have added players like Daniel Carcillo, Emery, and Pronger to their roster. Could be, but doubtful nevertheless.
It's no secret that the Flyers have been less-than-impressed with the offensively gifted, but fragile Daniel Briere who has yet to make a major impact in Philadelphia and still remains a big question mark for the team heading into the '09-'10 season.
Meanwhile, Mike Richards and Jeff Carter continue to flourish for the Flyers with both players enjoying career years during the '08-'09 season and bringing a gritty, blue-collar edge to Philadelphia's offensive squad.
Though it's hard to believe that Holmgren is finished with his offseason wheelings and dealings, the Pronger move is likely to be the biggest wave to hit the City of Brotherly Love this year and with a track record like his, why wouldn't it be?
Emery adds solid goaltending to a team that has gone through a slew of netminders only to find some kind of defect in each one of them. Though Emery may not carry the star caliber of some of the other goalies that Philadelphia may have had their eyes on, his year in the KHL has certainly helped his highly-publicized attitude problems as well his overall play posting a 22-8 record and a 1.86 GAA in 36 games played with Atlant Moscow Oblast.
As for Carcillo, Flyers fans got a good taste of the type of game he brings to the rink and we could probably just let the penalty minutes do the rest of the talking.
It's been a long time coming for Flyers fans, but if Holmgren's latest moves are any indication of the direction this team is going moving forward, there is lots to be excited about.
For the first time in close to forty has a Flyers team looks mean and imposing. Even though the roster for the 2009-1010 season is still far from being set in stone, Philadelphia's newest kids on the block look like as though Holmgren has taken a page out of the notorious Broad Street Bullies era.
As the for the remaining 29 teams in the NHL, take notice, because from the looks of things the 2009-1010 Flyers will not be a very fun team to play.