Just when things seemed to finally be going the Flyers' way, they got some bad news.
Friday afternoon, Philadelphia Flyers General Manager Paul Holmgren issued a statement regarding captain Chris Pronger's injury status, and it wasn't good:
"While Chris' knee is improving, he has struggled with other issues that are concussion-like symptoms," said Holmgren, according to ESPN. "Chris will see Dr. Joe Maroon and Dr. Mickey Collins on Wednesday, Dec. 14th in Pittsburgh for further evaluation. Chris will be out indefinitely."
Suddenly, things aren't so sunny in Philadelphia. The Flyers have been without their captain for much of the season, and his prolonged absence has caused a gaping hole in their defensive corps. Rookies Kevin Marshall and Marc Andre Bourdon have filled in decently, but you can tell that the players are really missing him out on the ice.
I wish I was kidding when I say this, but it only gets worse, Philly fans. Holmgren also updated everyone on Brayden Schenn's status.
"Brayden reported 'not feeling himself' on Dec. 5," Holmgren said. "Our doctors believe he has a mild concussion. Brayden will be out indefinitely."
When it rains, it pours.
As it stands now, the Flyers will probably be without the services of both Brayden Schenn and Chris Pronger for the 2012 Winter Classic in Philadelphia. The Rangers and Flyers are set to drop the puck on January 2, 2012 at Citizens Bank Park, which is less than a month away. Unless they both have a miraculous recovery, it doesn't look like they'll be playing.
With Chris Pronger out indefinitely, do you think the Flyers will make a trade for a defenseman?
So, what does this grim news mean to the Flyers?
Well, if you ask me, I think this almost guarantees that the Flyers will be much more aggressive in the trade market in coming weeks. It was rumored that Philadelphia was looking for a defenseman a few weeks ago, but they were mulling over a trade due to uncertainty on Chris Pronger's health and a lack of teams willing to ship out a defenseman. I wrote an article about it on November 30th, and even listed five guys that the Flyers might target. You can check it out here.
Teams generally make midseason trades before the Christmas break, so I think if the Flyers are going to make a move, it will be sooner rather than later. It will be interesting to see if the Flyers decide to make a trade or not. I firmly believe they will.
The length of time Schenn and Pronger are out will determine whether they'll target a bigger name defenseman or a guy who can just fill in for him until he returns. I think Schenn will be back before Pronger, so that could also play a factor in any potential trade. Philadelphia would have to move more salary.
I'll be sure to keep everyone updated on any potential trade rumors I hear, or any other news regarding Schenn and Pronger.
If you want up to the minute news or rumors, you can follow me on Twitter @MikePantz