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Pronger’s health represents other big question for Flyers’ D

Jul 23, 2012, 11:26 PM EDT

Toronto Maple Leafs v Philadelphia Flyers Getty Images

This summer has been an eventful one for the Philadelphia Flyers’ defense – and the biggest story must still be settled by Nashville Predators’ GM David Poile. Still, whether the Shea Weber offer sheet gamble pays off or not, the Flyers’ blueline will look different. The biggest non-Weber blueline question is: will Chris Pronger patrol it next season?

Flyers GM Paul Holmgren acknowledged Pronger’s “struggles” and that he’s still experiencing headaches, yet Holmgren denied rumors that the hulking defenseman is on the verge of retirement. (If the 35+ rule carries over into the next CBA, the Flyers would eat his $4.92 million cap hit until the end of his contract even if he retires.)

Beyond Holmgren’s denials, there hasn’t been much optimism regarding a possible return for Pronger, who last played a game on Nov. 19, 2011.

Pronger played just under 26 minutes per game for the Flyers during his first (and by far most healthy) season with the team in 2009-10. Departed free agent Matt Carle was the team’s ice time leader last season, so if Pronger remains sidelined and Weber stays in Nashville, the top guys would likely be Braydon Coburn and Kimmo Timonen.

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  1. georgia166 - Jul 23, 2012 at 11:46 PM

    Prongers is done , it’s silly to even debate him trying to come back. Weber will be in the Orange N Black by Wednesday and the cup drought will be over .

    • stakex - Jul 24, 2012 at 12:07 AM

      Sorry, but even with Weber the Flyers defense is nowhere near good enough to drag Ilya Bryzgalov to a cup. He was exposed last year as the waste of money he is…. even if hes good for a laugh from time to time.

      • porkchopexpress1969 - Jul 24, 2012 at 12:24 AM

        This is a true statement. Philly left with no goalie again. And a waste of money. Plus, from all the Wild fans here, they have the cup locked up this year. Sorry Philly….

      • flyers22 - Jul 24, 2012 at 12:43 AM

        FIRST OFF if leighton can take us to a cup final then so can bryzgalov his first year was up and down, there were times where he looked horrible and other times he looked like the best goalie in the league. He needed to get use to playing in philly and dealing with the media here. Second, how isnt our d good enough ? if the flyers add shea weber please tell me what team has a stronger blue line then philly?

      • stakex - Jul 24, 2012 at 1:13 AM

        Tell yourself what ever you need to Flyers22, but your blowing smoke up your own butt. Bryzgalov’s numbers last season were actually pretty close to his career average. It wasn’t that he had a horrible season, its that hes not the goalie the Flyers are paying him to be. Simply paying a goalie a lot of money does not make him a great goalie, and while your expecting him to be a lot better next year… there is nothing in his playing history that should make you think that.

        As for Philly having the best blue line, I only laughed a little bit. Philly was 20th in goals against average last season…. and adding one player is not going to suddenly make them into the best defensive team in the league. Don’t you remember the playoffs? Philly gave up so many goals they should have been blown out in four games, and only won the first round thanks to the Pens and their somehow worse defense. The second they played a team with a solid defense, and some scoring ability…. they were run out of town.

      • flyersphan28 - Jul 24, 2012 at 1:58 AM

        i dont know how u say the flyers defensive corp wouldnt be one of the top in the league (on paper) if they get weber…..schenn/weber timmonen/cobourn grossman/mez… grossman and mez could easily go to almost any other team in the league and immediatly jump into therr top 4… therefor ur just a hater. injuries got the best of em, and forced players to play more minutes then there capable i.e carle

      • flyers22 - Jul 24, 2012 at 1:59 AM

        im talking about his consistency improving, a goalie who was runner up for the vezina trophy in 2010 is going to be worth that amount of money. no one can predict what is going to happen but based on his numbers thats what any goaltender would demand and the devils have always played a defensive game, they have been playing the trap forever it doesnt mean there defenseman are the best in the league or that they have a deep blue line at all. with the addition of schenn and if we can sign weber i honestly dont see a team who has more quality defenseman then the flyers. They lost there leader on defense with pronger going down you could see it all year that the d was out of sort, adding weber is going to replace that. obviously we probably wont know till wednesday

      • flyersgoalscoredby88 - Jul 24, 2012 at 8:53 AM

        Bryz needs to be better this year, but he wasn’t terrible.

        Bryz’s numbers last year were equal with Marc Andre Fleury’s career numbers (also equal to Jose Theodore’s career numbers…) I don’t know if that makes him awful in a down year. His career SV% is .915. Last year he was at .909. If next year he’s at .921 (his sv% two years ago) people will be arguing he played over his head and it won’t repeat, even though it’s just as much of an aberation as .909.

      • melonheadsdaddy - Jul 24, 2012 at 9:35 AM

        Wait..did you all miss the fact that pork chop just guaranteed a cup for Minnesota??? Am I the only one who finds the hilarity in this bold prediction?? You add two players and you go from perennial bottom dweller to cup favorite?? COME ON MANNN….flyers still have work to do but at least they won a playoff series last year…stop it bro…just stop it.

      • melonheadsdaddy - Jul 24, 2012 at 9:37 AM

        Unless this was a sarcastic statement in which I apologize. Hard to gauge considering its a written statement…

      • porkchopexpress1969 - Jul 24, 2012 at 9:54 AM

        @melonheadsdaddy

        It was sarcasm. All the Wild fan are all up in arms with Parise and Suter now. They are delusional.

      • melonheadsdaddy - Jul 24, 2012 at 11:30 AM

        As I stated previously….my apologies. As you were.

    • isithockeyseasonyet - Jul 24, 2012 at 10:47 AM

      It’s sports, nothing is cookie cutter, if flyers get weber they could be a top 5 defense, they could also be a top 15…no doubt in my mind they’ll improve but we won’t know how much until they play the games on the ice and not the chat rooms

      • smushrodriguez - Jul 24, 2012 at 11:31 AM

        Defense is not determined by how good your defenseman are. That is just part of it. System is also a big part of it and the Flyers system is not designed to be defense/goalie friendly. The forwards are a bigger part of the defensive problem than the defense. For instance Wade Simmonds was a travesty on the ice in the playoffs. looking forward to having good defenseman but hope Lavy will adjust and have his forwards show some defensive responsibility. PS – How is Craig Berube a coach of defense?

  2. 28giroux28 - Jul 23, 2012 at 11:55 PM

    The Flyers have kinda known Pronger was done for a while now.

  3. skulman7 - Jul 23, 2012 at 11:58 PM

    Love him as a player and wish I could see him back in Orange and Black. But you don’t mess around with brain injuries.

  4. georgia166 - Jul 24, 2012 at 12:07 AM

    Yeah Its really nice to envision Prongs and Weber in the line-up each night but the reality of it is Pronger will never play again. I saw Prongs decline little by little. It seemed like he was alot softer in the last 3 Cup Final games when Big Buff was running at him and never the same the year after and obviously last year after the puck got him in the head/eye and the big hit he took in Winnipeg coming back from that too soon

  5. stakex - Jul 24, 2012 at 12:11 AM

    Pronger has played his last game in the NHL, period. No doctor will ever clear him to play again, and I would bet hes been told as much.

    However, its best for both him and the Flyers for him to not retire officialy. So long as he doesn’t retire he still gets paid his contract money (which is covered by insurence), and the Flyers can bury his cap hit by putting him on long term IR. Its a good deal for both of them, or at least as good of deal as the situation will allow.

  6. somekat - Jul 24, 2012 at 1:07 AM

    wow a flyers story on rick nash, i mean philadelphia flyers day. Snuck it in just under the gun

  7. jhuck92 - Jul 24, 2012 at 5:10 AM

    I don’t care if he retires, but as long as Pronger doesn’t play for Philly anymore, I can be a Flyers fan again. Especially if they can land Bobby Ryan AND Shea Weber

  8. murtdurt - Jul 24, 2012 at 5:32 AM

    ^ LOL. When flyers fans go too far. Good luck with those bath salts

  9. philly4lyfe - Jul 24, 2012 at 7:27 AM

    Yes, bryz struggled last year at times, in the playoffs especially. But that was also with mez, prong and gross being out and timo playing hurt. but with every1 (minus prongs) coming back healthy and if we’re able to add big Shea, yes we will have one of if not the most solid blue line in the league. Also remember bryz set the 2nd longest shut out streak in the history of the league last year behind that defense, so he is obviously capable.

    • dsd3 - Jul 24, 2012 at 1:31 PM

      Bryz was questionable vs. Pittsburgh, but he was not the problem in the NJ series. There were times in that series (numerous times, I might add) where Philly had no shots on goal for 14, 15, 16 minute stretches, and they were spending the entire time shooting on Bryz. Don’t think I’d blame him for that series. Obviously Weber would help, as will having Grossmann at 100% (I don’t think he was when he came back).

  10. broadstbully33 - Jul 24, 2012 at 7:45 AM

    it was a franchise record not a league record and it was second to ….drum roll please…Brian Boucher. either way Bryz will have a good year as long as he keeps his mouth shut and keeps his head out of the khl where he dreams of being

    • dsd3 - Jul 24, 2012 at 1:33 PM

      Second longest shutout streak in the modern era of the NHL.

      I’m not sure why you would say he dreams of being in the KHL when he’s been playing in the United States for the last 10 years. Seems unnecessary, but I guess I’ve come to expect this crap from my fellow Flyers fans.

  11. jpat2424 - Jul 24, 2012 at 7:49 AM

    Yeah right. Flyers win the cup. Hehe

  12. flyersob1 - Jul 24, 2012 at 8:25 AM

    Flyers have as many chances as any top 4 teams in both conferences. LA was 8th seed last year and barely made playoffs! Couple years ago Flyers squeezed in to Playoffs by beating NYR in shootout of the last game of the season and made up to game 6 of SCF. It is anyone’s game to take the Cup

  13. muir6 - Jul 24, 2012 at 8:53 AM

    Drought over! Another Philly offseason dynasty

    • melonheadsdaddy - Jul 24, 2012 at 9:42 AM

      Your just as bad as the 7 year old Pittsburgh fan with 30+names condoning and exploiting a vicious act upon innocent people. Get a life dude. It’s only funny when you post your comment once…then it loses it’s luster…the fact I’ve seen this on every flyers post today let’s everyone know how truely jealous and scared of the flyers you are…

  14. flyersgoalscoredby88 - Jul 24, 2012 at 9:14 AM

    I don’t want to say “I hope Pronger never plays again for his health” because I’m not a doctor and can’t make that call. Instead, I hope he doesn’t come back unless it’s safe for him to do so.

  15. holeecowman - Jul 24, 2012 at 10:17 AM

    hey philly fans whats up dont feed into the sca negative statements they are still sucking on lemons from this years playoffs the ice chickens are not what they used to be and they cant admit that 97% of the fan base has only been around since cindy started playing shame on you pens fans grow up and get some knowledge of the sport first and keep thos 1975 poster coming i love them they make me lmao another thing is flyers fans bryz will be fine no worries here

    go flyers

    • isithockeyseasonyet - Jul 24, 2012 at 10:51 AM

      Haha good point, that’s why I don’t acknowledge Pen’s fans, how many years until after Crosby retires does the NHL have to step in and bail them out again?

  16. govtminion - Jul 24, 2012 at 11:19 AM

    It’s clear that Bryz didn’t have a good year, and the alarm bells should be ringing in Philly on that front. But let’s remember that teams can win the Cup with a sub-par goaltender… not often, but it does happen. Anyone remember Chris Osgood? Not exactly Hall caliber, let in some very suspect goals over the years (to say the least), but a great team in front of him allowed him to get his name on the Cup a few times.

    I don’t know that the Flyers are able to do it, but I wouldn’t write them off just because they’re shaky (yet again) in net.

  17. muir6 - Jul 24, 2012 at 12:15 PM

    Offseason parade this fri to save money gonna combine Eagles and Flyers parade together. Reid gonna b a float! The cup and the rings on display. Dynasty Town!

    • melonheadsdaddy - Jul 24, 2012 at 12:25 PM

      You forgot “@SCA”

  18. earlcpeacock - Jul 24, 2012 at 5:25 PM

    u call sid a baby! get this big old cry baby of a human out of the nhl. he is a snatch. i wish he was playing so soup can sid can drop an elbow in his face and put him out for good! @soupcanarmy. STAY CHUBBY

  19. cosmoandmelovepens - Jul 26, 2012 at 11:09 AM

    1975

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