This is the first of a 4 Part series I will be doing on the Flyer’s Off-Season Outlook.
Chris Pronger’s injury puts the Flyers in a tight spot going forward. Even more troubling for the Flyers is the fact they do not know his status. As it is they have a few options pending on if he is still having post concussion symptoms come time for training camp in September – Option 1) Assuming Pronger is calling it quits and assuming the new CBA includes an amnesty clause the Flyers can axe Pronger and be free and clear of his cap space which can leave them room to sign a top free agent d-man and Ed Snider has already mentioned in interviews that Pronger is an irreplaceable player, but we must attempt to offset the loss of him. Signing free agent d-man Ryan Suter of Nashville could help the Flyers with that offsetting and given how driven Fast Eddie has been in signing the best free agent on the market this is at the least a strong possibility. Option 2) Pronger does not retire but is placed on the LTIR to start the season with the hopes of re-joining the team at some point. This scenario will put the Flyers in between a rock and a hard place as Pronger’s salary will come off the cap, but if he does actually have a possibility of coming back the Flyers can’t afford to sign a top d-man to fill his spot while he’s out and activate Pronger when he’s ready to come back due to salary cap restrictions.
It is understood that Chris Pronger has the “it” factor and that any replacement would not be able to fill his skates, but merely, as Snider said, offset the loss. The one season we had a healthy Prongs we went all the way to the Cup Finals in 2010. Coincidence? I think not. The guy exudes confidence and grittiness. The entire fan base saw what he did for Matt Carle. Those two looked like an elite pair of defensemen while Pronger was healthy, but when Prongs went out Carle returned to mediocrity. Chris Pronger is just one of those players that makes everyone around him better and also is considered to be one of those rare talents that can be called an elite playoff performer. Given the status of his headaches and other symptoms have not changed it is very likely that he will not be back next season and the Flyers will indeed have to move on without him. We all hope it is not the case, but I believe the Flyers organization is prepared for this worst case scenario.
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