On paper, getting an impact player of Chris Pronger’s caliber for a little less than $5 million (cap hit-wise) is a mind blowing steal. Despite failing to garner enough votes for a single Conn Smythe Trophy, I’ve made a passionate argument that he could have won it on three separate occasions – two of times on losing teams. (Yeah, I occasionally advance a hare brained theory or two. What’s it to you?)
There is a catch, though. The team thought it was getting a typical cap circumventing contract when they signed his deal. Just look at his year-by-year salaries via CapGeek.com. (Click to enlarge)
It’s painfully obvious that GM Paul Holmgren & Co. were under the impression that he would retire either in 2014-15 or 2015-16, but they failed to recognize that the 35+ penalty would kick in since Pronger will turn that age in October. So, even if Pronger retires (and there’s a decent chance he’d want to since he’d only be paid the league minimum during the last two seasons), the Flyers will still be responsible for that $4.9 million-plus cap hit.
Why do I bring up his contract situation? Because any report like this has to make you a little worried about the controversial defenseman’s future health. This comes straight from the Philadelphia Flyers.
Holmgren: “Chris Pronger had minor surgery on his right knee last week. He will be ready for the start of training camp.”
It’s hard to believe that any knee surgery is “minor” – especially for a player with the kind of mileage and size as Pronger – but we’ll take Holmgren’s word for it at this point. It’ll be interesting to see how long Pronger will be worth it for the Flyers. Then again, if they make a few more deep playoff runs, he might be worth the trouble.