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Ducks Acquire Pronger

by Staff Writer / Anaheim Ducks

ANAHEIM, Calif. - The Anaheim Ducks announced today that the National Hockey League (NHL) club has acquired defenseman Chris Pronger from the Edmonton Oilers in exchange for right wing Joffrey Lupul, defenseman Ladislav Smid, a first-round pick in the 2007 NHL Entry Draft, a second-round pick in the 2008 NHL Entry Draft and a conditional draft pick. Per club policy, no financial terms of the deal were disclosed.

"We believe having Chris Pronger join Scott Niedermayer on our blueline gives us two of the top defensemen in the NHL today," said Anaheim Ducks Executive Vice President/General Manager Brian Burke. "Players of this caliber don't become available very often, especially when they are still in the prime of their career.

"We also wish to thank Joffrey Lupul and Ladislav Smid for what they have done for this organization during their time with us, and wish them the best in the future," Burke said. A 6-6, 220-pound defenseman, Pronger led the Edmonton Oilers to the 2006 Stanley Cup Finals, finishing first in scoring among all NHL blueliners (ranked third among all players) with 5-16=21 points in 24 postseason games. His 21 playoff points were the most scored by a defenseman in the playoffs since 1994, when Brian Leetch had 34 points for the New York Rangers. Pronger collected 12-44=56 points with 74 penalty minutes (PIM) in 80 games with Edmonton during the 2005-06 regular season. The Dryden, Ontario, native was fourth in the NHL in time on ice, averaging 27:59 minutes a game. He also ranked fourth in power play scoring among blueliners and 15ht overall.

In 2000, Pronger won the Hart (MVP) and Norris (Top Defenseman) Trophies after collecting 14-48=62 points in 79 games with the St. Louis Blues. In addition, he was named to the NHL First All-Star team following that season. He has played in four NHL All-Star games (1999, 2000, 2002 and 2004) and represented Canada in each of the last three Olympic Games, winning Gold in 2002. Pronger led the NHL in plus/minus in 1997-98 (+47) and 1999-2000 (+52).

Pronger, 31 (10/10/74), has played in 802 career NHL games, collecting 106-350=456 points and 1,172 PIM with a +127 rating. In 109 career NHL playoff games, he has recorded 15-57=72 points.

Originally drafted by Hartford (2nd overall) in the 1993 NHL Entry Draft, Pronger played two seasons with the Whalers before being traded to St. Louis for Brendan Shanahan on July 27, 1995. After nine seasons in St. Louis, Pronger was traded to Edmonton for Eric Brewer, Doug Lynch and Jeff Woywitka on August 2, 2005.

Lupul was Anaheim's first choice (7th overall) in the 2002 Entry Draft. He played in 156 games with the Ducks, collecting 41-46=87 points. Smid was selected 9th overall in the 2004 NHL Entry Draft by Anaheim, and played in his first season of professional hockey last season with Portland of the American Hockey League (AHL). He recorded 3-25=28 points and 48 PIM in 71 games with the AHL Pirates.

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