Chris Pronger trade to Coyotes gives Flyers cap room
Former defenceman hasn't played since 2011
Chris Pronger has been traded despite not suiting up for a game over the past three seasons and working for the NHL.
The Philadelphia Flyers traded Pronger's contract, along with defenceman Nicklas Grossmann, to the Arizona Coyotes for forward Sam Gagner and a conditional fourth round draft choice in 2016 or a third round draft choice in 2017.
"I don't think Arizona's going to be up against the top and we are," Flyers general manager Ron Hextall said on a conference call from Fort Lauderdale International Airport. "They got a good player and we got some cap relief, so it's one of those deals that works for both teams."
Pronger was one of the NHL's most fearsome defenceman during his 18-year career, racking up 157 goals, 541 assists and 1,590 penalty minutes over 1,167 NHL games with Hartford, St. Louis, Edmonton, Anaheim and Philadelphia.
He won the Hart Trophy as the NHL's most valuable player and the Norris Trophy as top defenceman while with St. Louis in 1999-2000.
He later joined with star defenceman Scott Niedermayer to form the defensive backbone of Anaheim's Stanley Cup winning team in 2006-07. He's likely to be elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame on Monday.
Pronger hasn't played since 2011 after suffering concussion symptoms stemming from a stick to the eye, but he has yet to file his retirement papers.
Pronger, who works for the NHL's Department of Player Safety, has two years left on his contract at cap hit of US$4.921 million. He's only owed US$575,000 each of the next two seasons.
The Flyers consulted with the league when Pronger took the job and were told they could trade him like any other player. They did have to ask him to waive his no-movement clause.
"He's actually told us that he'd be willing to waive it, so he didn't have a problem," Hextall said.
All told, the Flyers saved just under $5 million with the trade. Hextall wouldn't commit to keeping Gagner, who has been the subject of buyout rumours.
"We'll have to look closely at our cap and see where we're at, and we'll make that decision and any other decision that we have to make," Hextall said. "So it could be a combination of a few things."