Flyers give up future for Pronger

How ironic is it that the Flyers would put their future in jeopardy at the draft? Yesterday at the NHL Entry Draft, the Philadelphia Flyers acquired Chris Pronger and Ryan Dingle in exchange for forward Joffrey Lupul, rookie defenseman Luca Sbisa, two first-round draft picks, and a third rounder to be determined later. The obvious message: The Flyers want to win now.

Joffrey Lupul has 25 goals and 50 points for the Flyers last season. At the age of 25, he has already three 20 goal seasons in his career. This, by the way, is the second time in three years that Lupul has been traded for Pronger.

Luca Sbisa was the Flyers first round pick in the 2008 draft. At only 19, he played 39 games with the Flyers last season, racking up 7 assists. By all accounts this kid is destined to become a solid top defenseman, and was expected to play a full season with the Flyers this season.

Throw in 2 first round draft picks and a third round draft pick, and what do the Flyers get in return? A 34-year old veteran that is a $6.25 million cap hit with only one year left on his contract. When asked for comment, Flyers GM Paul Holmgren responded:
"Chris makes life miserable for other teams. I think our younger players will look up to him. He's a winner. This makes us better today than we were yesterday."
But will it make the Flyers better tomorrow? In his defense, there are reports that it's a simple inevitability that Pronger will sign a contract extension with the Flyers, but will that make it worth giving up so much of your organization's young talent? I'm not suggesting that Chris Pronger isn't an elite player; he's easily in the top 10 defenseman in the NHL, but is risking your future such a smart move especially when you have so many great young players locked up for years?

  • Simon Gagne is under contract through the 2010/11 season.
  • Scott Hartnell is under contract through the 2012/13 season.
  • Danny Briere is under contract through the 2015/16 season.
  • Mike Richards is under contract through the 2019/20 season.
  • Kimmo Timonen is under contract through the 2012/13 season.

Should Pronger get a contract extension from the Flyers it could range from anywhere to his current $6.25 million to $7.45 million, Nicklas Lidstrom's current salary. This would make it extremely difficult for Holmgren to resign several young players whos contracts expire soon, including right-winger Mike Knuble.

What makes this deal even sweeter for the Ducks is that they were preparing for the departure of Chris Pronger and Scott Niedermayer for quite some time now, so instead of waiting for Pronger to go somewhere in free agency, they got two very good players and 3 draft picks instead.
"At some point in time, this organization is going to be without Scotty and now Chris. Some day neither one of them were going to be there. It’s time we started preparing for that. It was time for us to move forward and that was what I was doing," said Ducks GM Bob Murray


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