Chris Pronger: How the Philadelphia Flyers Can Replace His Production

Donald WoodFeatured ColumnistMarch 25, 2011

Chris Pronger: How the Philadelphia Flyers Can Replace His Production

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    Chris Pronger is arguably one of the best defensive defensemen in the league.

    His talent and production in all three zones makes him irreplaceable in the Flyers lineup. The only positive with this injury is that he will be better rested for the long playoff haul.

    The Flyers, like every other team in the NHL facing injuries, have backup plans for their team.

    The following list is of five possible solutions for the loss of production of veteran Chris Pronger.

5. Nick Boynton

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    Nick Boynton is not the best defender in the league, but he doesn’t have to be with the Flyers.

    He just has to be good enough to fill in at the sixth defender position and eat up some minutes in regulation time.

    Boynton is solid enough on the ice to where he isn’t a liability, and his Stanley Cup experience is something you can’t teach.

4. Solid Goaltending

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    The Philadelphia Flyers goalie situation has been a wild ride all season long. The team came into the preseason thinking that veteran journeyman Michael Leighton would be their starter.

    After that didn’t pan out as planned, the Flyers started the season with Russian Rookie Sergei Bobrovsky and veteran Brian Boucher competing for the No. 1 job.

    To this day, they are still competing for the starting job and that continued battle has been what keeps them successful and, more importantly, fresh.

    The Flyers goaltenders are 11th in goals against average and have been a big key to the success of the Flyers this season.

3. Forwards Need to Be More Defensive Minded

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    A person could go to any hockey practice in the world, whether that be professional, high school or roller, and they will hear the coach preaching about his forwards playing sound defense.

    The Flyers are renowned for their strong forecheck and their ability to play solid in all three zones.

    The team will have to concentrate on playing better fundamental hockey every minute of the game to help make up for the defensive prowess lost with the injury of Chris Pronger.

2. Increased Minutes for All Defenders

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    With the injury to defensive leader Chris Pronger, the Flyers management knew that they would need more ice time from their top four defenders.

    In the last two games, defenders Kimmo Timonen, Matt Carle, Braydon Coburn and Andrej Meszaros have all averaged over 26 minutes per game.

    They have all stepped their game up both to help the team in the absence of Pronger and in preparation for the long playoff haul.

1. Braydon Coburn

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    In the face of Chris Pronger’s latest injury, there were questions on who of the remaining defenders would step up to take the defensive helm in his absence.

    Braydon Coburn has stepped up and made this his personal proving grounds. Coburn plays a solid style of defense and has averaged over 27 minutes in the last two games.

    Big minutes can lead to fatigue, but it seems the more that Coburn plays, the better he gets. The Flyers need continued stellar play from Coburn until they get Pronger back come playoff time.