Those "Battle of Pennsylvania" match-ups are going to be fun for close to the next decade, eh? The Philadelphia Flyers announced today that Chris Pronger(notes) has signed a multi-year extension with the club. Sportsnet originally reported that it's for seven years, $35 million and is front-loaded to ease the salary cap hit. Pronger had one more year left on his contract and according to Flyers general manager Paul Holmgren, an extension had been coming since the two former members of the Hartford Whalers organization reunited on June 27th:
“We are pleased to have one of the NHL’s premier defensemen in our organization and under contract long term,” said Holmgren in making the announcement. ”When we made the trade for Chris, it was our intention to get him signed to an extension and we are glad we could come to this agreement today.”
Pronger will be a few months shy of his 42nd birthday at the end of the new deal and he said he doesn't plan on following in Chris Chelios'(notes) footsteps by playing deep into his forties. Whether or not Pronger sees out the full seven years of the deal is anyone's guess, but he says this is final stop in the National Hockey League:
“I am very excited to be able to retire a Philadelphia Flyer and I am looking forward to many years with the Flyers logo on my chest,” said Pronger. “I think both parties wanted to get it handled in a timely fashion in order to move on and get things set up for future years down the line so that the Flyers could make moves either this year or next year, and know that they had me in place.”
The Draft Day deal is still seen by many as Philly giving up too much for an aging superstar. As Bob Ford of the Philadelphia Inquirer pointed out, if Pronger isn't lifting a Stanley Cup within the next three seasons, dealing away three top draft picks could hurt the depth of the roster in the long run. Then again, it's also a risk that Holmgren and the organization made believing that the end of the road will be brighter than it has the past 34 springs.
- Paul Holmgren