VOORHEES, NJ – Back in 2006, Flyers Chairman Ed Snider made the following statement in an interview regarding how the Flyers would build their team for years to come.
“We’re going back to our roots. We’re not going to go and trade draft picks anymore or trade our kids ever again for veterans. We got carried away wanting to win [Stanley] Cups.”
The interview was done just prior to the Flyers season from hell where the team had one of their worst years in franchise history in 2006-07. Well, what a difference a year makes huh?
At Monday’s press conference Chris Pronger said that he would like to retire a Flyer. Well, I guess you can say that what a difference a day makes because CSNPhilly.com is reporting that Pronger has agreed to a seven-year contract extension that according to a team source is worth $35 million. The contract expires after the 2016-17 season, at which time Pronger will be 42.
According to the report, the contract is front loaded in order to keep his salary cap friendly. Pronger’s already had a cap number of $6.25 million for this season, but for the next seven seasons will be slightly less than $5 million.
As you may have heard by now the Flyers acquired the 34-year-old Pronger from the Anaheim Ducks during the 2009 NHL Entry Draft by sending right winger Joffrey Lupul, defenseman Luca Sbisa, two first-round picks and a conditional third round draft pick.
The signing takes some of the sting out of losing so many assets to acquire one player.
When asked what statement he would want to make to players like Alex Ovechkin and Sidney Crosby, Pronger fired back:
“I think you know the answer to that,” said Pronger. “We don’t want to premeditate anything, now do we?”
He didn’t have too. Holmgren and Snider did that for him when they traded for him.
The answer to that would be to make the area in front of the Flyers net a living hell for players like Crosby and Ovechkin. By adding Pronger to the equation, the Flyers will automatically become a tougher team to play against.
At the press conference, Pronger made a point of explaining what is expected of him.
“The role will be twofold: To help the young guys along, to help them develop and achieve their potential, and to lead by example; go out and play the way I have throughout the course of my career and be a force back on the blue line.”
The truth is, Pronger’s role will be to help bring Lord Stanley’s Cup to Philadelphia, something that has not been done since 1975. If he can help do so, the trade will look good, if not it will set the team back at least three years, especially when you consider the teams lack of depth at the forward positions, and in goal.
First round draft picks in the past use to be considered more of a hit and miss kind of thing, especially 20-30 years ago. However, with the influx of talent from Sweden, Russia, Finland and the growth of USA Hockey in recent years is proof positive that first picks are less likely to be risks than in years past.
The other part of the equation is the salary cap, which starting next season might be going down, but it most likely won’t be a dramatic drop. Still, anytime the cap goes down in today’s market it raises concerns.
The good news is the potential to having a more lucrative national TV contract in the upcoming years if ESPN gets involved and due to NBC’s continued role in bringing the NHL back to the masses. If that happens, and the US economy somehow goes back to some form of normalcy, look for the cap to slowly go back up.
That, however, is a look into the future. For the Flyers, the future is now. Only the cup will do in the eyes of a Flyers fan, and of Ed Snider.