Flyers Ready to Pull Trigger on Trade?
By Dustin Leed (@D_LEED)
(AP Photo/Tom Mihalek)
Flyers general manager Paul Holmgren announced earlier today that Chris Pronger will undergo surgery on his left knee on Tuesday.
The injury, which was kept quiet by the Flyers is the most recent on a laundry list of problems with Pronger, but it didn’t start out that way for the Flyers’ defenseman.
In his first season in the Flyers organization, between the Flyers regular season, playoffs and Winter Olympics, Pronger played in 112 total games during the 2009-10 season. Each Flyers’ regular and postseason game.
Since then, it’s been a different story.
After a heartbreaking loss to the Chicago Blackhawks in Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Finals, over the 2010-11 season and the start of this year, the Flyers have suited up 116 times — Pronger has played in only 66 of those games.
The 37-year-old captain appeared in three of the Flyers’ 11 2010-11 playoff games, 50 of 82 regular season games and this season, Pronger took the ice in just 13 of the Flyers’ 23 games. Add it up and over the past 13 months, the defenseman missed a total of 50 games.
(The following table is from www.tsn.ca)
||Knee surgery, sidelined indefinitely.
||Missed 6 games (right eye injury).
||Right eye injury, injured reserve.
||Right eye injury, sidelined indefinitely.
||Missed 3 playoff games (undisclosed).
||Missed the last 16 games of the regular season and 5 playoff games (right hand injury).
||Right hand injury, day-to-day.
||Missed 1 game (hand injury).
||Hand injury, day-to-day.
||Missed 13 games (right foot surgery).
||Right foot surgery, injured reserve.
||Missed 2 games (knee surgery).
||Knee surgery, day-to-day.
||Signed by the Philadelphia Flyers to a multi-year contract extension.
||Acquired from the Anaheim Ducks.
Throw in the recently reported surgery list per Sam Carchidi (five over the last 16 months) and the future looks blurry for No. 20 in orange.
Is he wearing down? Apparently, the Flyers may think so.
Sources informed me that there is a good possibility that Pronger’s recent surgery may keep him shelved for more than four weeks. I’m told that the Flyers front office is quite worried about his recent health problems and Holmgren is currently working the phones to add a defenseman to their blue line.
Seperate sources also confirmed tonight that the Flyers have had contact with the Calgary Flames about defensemen Mark Giordano and Scott Hannan. It is unclear whether Flames general manager Jay Feaster is willing to deal any of his players at this point and it’s quite a longshot that Giordano is one of them. The 28-year-old is highly regarded in the Calgary organization and his value is through the roof, but Hannan on the other hand, has a $1-million cap-hit on a one-year contract and is a UFA at the end of the season. The 32-year-old could fit the Flyers D need in moving forward.
With the Flyers currently at the max number of contracts allowed, 50, the recent decision to send Andreas Nodl to waivers could be a calculated move. Philly’s number of contracts would drop to 49 if Nodl is claimed by another team, thus allowing Philadelphia to acquire a player via trade or free agency.
A source also confirmed that the Carolina Hurricanes could be interested in shopping a defensemen or two for a top-nine forward and the Flyers may have interest. Despite interest in the past, Tomas Kaberle is not one of the defensemen whose name has come up from the Flyers end. It’s believed the Flyers could try to pry either Tim Gleason ($2.9m) or Bryan Allen ($2.75m) away from the 14th-place Hurricanes. The Flyers would try to use draft picks to acquire either d-men.
With Pronger and Lilja on LTIR, the Flyers receive cap relief and are also in a position to move a recently acquired draft picks for a defensemen instead of sending a player the other way in a trade. The Flyers currently own the Kings’ second round pick and either the Panthers’ 2012 or 2013 second round pick. Philadelphia also has an extra third round pick in 2013 from Minnesota.
Tampa Bay defenseman Bruno Gervais is a name that has been brought up to me as a possible guy the Flyers could target. The right-handed defenseman is making $525,000 this year and has been the odd man out in Tampa, playing in only six games.
Two other names that I could not get confirmation on are Washington’s Karl Alzner and Vancouver’s Keith Ballard.
Despite recent injuries to the blue line, Washington currently has nine defensemen on their active roster and will face some difficulties next season with Dennis Wideman, John Carlson and Mike Green all headed towards restricted or unrestricted free agency. It’s difficult to picture Washington and Philadelphia becoming trading partners, but it’s happened once before. Alzer is not believed to be moved, but his name has surfaced in recent discussion. In Vancouver, Ballard is in the middle of a monster $4.2m per contract and has recently been shopped by general manager Mike Gillis. Despite his availability, I just can’t see the Flyers taking on his contract.
At this point, the Flyers have no interest in moving defenseman Matt Carle or goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky.
As it stands, the Flyers have been happy with the play of Kevin Marshall and Marc-Andre Bourdon this season, but aren’t overly high on the duo and feel stretched defensively. They would like more experience on the back end and do not feel Andreas Lilja can effectively contribute in a top-four role. In addition to the teams’ reletive poor play from defensemen this year, the Flyers realize with Pronger’s injury troubles and Kimmo Timonen in the second to last year of his contract Philadelphia may be in need of steady defensemen sooner rather than later.