Pronger traded to Anaheim
Chris Pronger's time with the Edmonton Oilers is officially over.
The stalwart defenceman, who led the Oilers to their first Stanley Cup final appearance since 1990, was traded to the Anaheim Ducks on Monday for up-and-coming forward Joffrey Lupul, prospectLadislav Smid, plus Anaheim's first-round draft choice in 2007, a conditional first-round pick and a second-round draft choice in 2008.
"You're not going to get a Chris Pronger back when you trade him," Kevin Prendergast, the Oilers vice-president, hockey operations, said at a news conference. "He's one of the top-three defencemen in the world. It's a trade we feel is going to help this hockey club."
Pronger, whohad reportedly asked to be traded for "personal, family considerations," had a brilliant first season with the Oilers, leading the team in post-season scoring.
The Oilers lost a heartbreaking 3-1 decision to the Carolina Hurricanes in the seventh and deciding game of the final.
But Pronger was a tower of strength for the Oilers as he logged more than 30 minutes of ice time throughout the playoffs and was also a Conn Smythe Trophy candidate as the post-season's most valuable player.
He scored 12 goals and 56 points in 80 regular season games this season and added another 19 points in the post-season.
The Oilers acquired Pronger in an off-season trade last August for defencemen Eric Brewer, Doug Lynch and Jeff Woywitka.
Pronger still has four more years on a contract that will pay him $6.25 million US a season.
He joins an Anaheim squad that already boasts one of the league's top blue-liners in Scott Niedermayer.The pair have played together before on Team Canada at the2002 and 2006 Olympic Games.
"We believe having Chris Pronger join Scott Niedermayer on our blue-line gives us two of the top defencemen in the NHL today," Ducksgeneral managerBrian Burke said in a release. "Players of this calibre don't become available very often, especially when they are still in the prime of their career."
Lupul, just 22,scored 28 goals with 25 assists for Anaheim in his secondNHL season. He had 34 points as a rookie.
The Edmonton native also shone for the Ducks'run to the Western Conference final, scoring four goals in Game 3 against Colorado in the second round.
Smid, a 20-year-old defenceman, played his first season in North America with the AHL's Portland Pirates, collecting three goals and 25 assists in 71 games. He spent the past three years playing in his native Czech Republic.
He was chosen ninth overall by the Ducks in the 2004 NHL draft.
"We certainly feel Lupul is going to make us a lot better on the power play," said Prendergast. "Smid â¦ all our scouts are very, very high on him. And we get a first-round draft pick in what we consider a very good draft coming up next year. We think they're both going to come in and help us."
With files from the Canadian Press