PHILADELPHIA – Chris Pronger and the Philadelphia Flyers agreed to a US$34.9-million, seven-year contract extension on Tuesday, less than two weeks after the 2000 NHL MVP joined his new team.
The Flyers acquired the star defenceman in a blockbuster draft-day trade with the Anaheim Ducks last month. Philadelphia surrendered a pair of first-round picks, a 25-goal scorer and a promising prospect to get Pronger.
The 34-year-old Pronger had 11 goals and 37 assists last season with the Ducks. Pronger will make $6.25 million next season in the final year of his original contract. He’ll earn $7.6 million in each of the next two years, $7.2 million in 2012-13, $7 million in 2013-14 and $5.5 million over the last three years of the deal.
“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,” Pronger said in a statement. “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 Flyers are hoping Pronger is the missing piece that can help them win the Stanley Cup for the first time since 1975. Philadelphia lost to eventual Stanley Cup winner Pittsburgh in the first round of last season’s playoffs. The Penguins also eliminated the Flyers in the Eastern Conference finals in 2008.
Pronger and prospect Ryan Dingle went from the Ducks to Philadelphia for forward Joffrey Lupul, defenceman Luca Sbisa, first-round picks in 2009 and 2010 and a conditional third-round pick in 2010 or 2011. Lupul had 25 goals and 25 assists last season.
“We are pleased to have one of the NHL’s premier defencemen in our organization and under contract long term,” Flyers general manager Paul Holmgren said. “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.”
A punishing hitter who makes plays with the puck, Pronger also brings intangibles to the locker room. He has a lively personality and possesses the leadership skills the young Flyers sometimes lacked last season.
Pronger, who also played for Hartford, St. Louis, Edmonton and Anaheim over a 15-year NHL career, has 142 goals and 464 assists and 1,457 penalty minutes in 1,022 regular-season games. He has 22 goals and 80 assists for 102 points in 147 playoff games.
Pronger led Edmonton to the finals in 2006 and helped the Ducks hoist the Cup a year later.
AP Hockey Writer Ira Podell in New York contributed to this report.