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Flyers Should Be Scary With Pronger

TORONTO - OCTOBER 21:  Chris Pronger #25 of the Anaheim Ducks prepares for a face-off against the Toronto Maple Leafs with the Hockey Fights Cancer logo on his helmet during a NHL game at the Air Canada Centre October 21, 2008 in Toronto, Ontario.(Photo By Dave Sandford/Getty Images)
Chris DiFrancescoAnalyst IJune 29, 2009

After these past couple days, the Flyers Chris Pronger trade finally sunk in with the fans. Now some, for some odd reason, still believe this was a bad and/or risky move. My question to you is, why?

Why?

Chris Pronger is a world-class defensemen who has won already. He has been an MVP. Yes, he is 34, but he’s as durable and reliable as he’s ever been in his career. The fans who are negative on this blockbuster deal are those who are too dedicated to guys like Joffrey Lupul and young Luca Sbisa. 

The fact of the matter is Lupul had too be moved because he was making over $4 million this season and was valuable trade bait. Sbisa, was a first-round pick who had a lot of gaps in his game, but he's still only 18-years-old. He wasn’t going to come in next season and provide what Pronger is going to this upcoming season.

The two first-rounders and the conditional pick that Anaheim gets is totally blown out of proportion. A first-round pick in the NHL is as much of a crap-shoot as a first-rounder in the MLB draft. You just don’t know what you're getting.

Well, in the minds of the Flyers brass, they know exactly who and what they're getting in  Pronger. He’s a monster at 6-6 who plays ferocious hockey. He’ll gain more penalty minutes with the Flyers, but they won’t be Scottie Upshall-type penalties that can cost his team the game.

“He brings so many things to our team—size, experience, attitude, leadership. He’s the complete package," coach John Stevens said. "We liked our back-end before, we really like it now.”

And that’s nothing against Scottie.

The move can backfire, as can any other trade or signing that goes on until next June. Another quality that Pronger will bring is the "no excuses" attitude. Pronger will not make excuses for bad play or a referee’s questionable calls that might have cost the team a win.

The defensive pairing will now be the tricky part for Stevens. Will he stick with the pairing of Timonen-Parent on the first line, and have the second look like Pronger-Coburn?

That would be the team's best option. There will most likely be points where Pronger and Timonen will pair up like power play situations. Pronger’s scoring prowess will contribute to an already dominant special teams.

If we’re now comparing the Flyers team with the addition of Pronger to the Stanley Cup champions Pittsburgh Penguins, then here’s how to look at it.

The Flyers now have shut-down defensemen for both the top lines on Pittsburgh. Timonen has always been known to stop the superstars, and he has done a superb job with Sidney Crosby in the past, so that stays put.

The problem child for the Flyers lately has been Evgeni Malkin. Guys like Sbisa, and Randy Jones were the ones who stuck with the big Russian. Pronger will now bring his hard-hitting presence to annoy and worry Malkin.

"To add a guy like Chris is great," said probable linemate Coburn. "I am excited to watch him play and learn from him and see him on an every day basis. The guy has been the MVP of the league and has done so many great things. He is a future hall-of-famer. To learn from a guy like that is going to be great.”

Once training camp starts, this becomes a low-risk high-reward move for the Flyers. This move has solidified the Flyers as automatic favorites for this years Stanley Cup. If Ray Emery can hold the fort down than this team is poised for a big run.

 

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