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Flyers Acquire Chris Pronger

by Staff Writer / Philadelphia Flyers
Chris Pronger, left, celebrates his goal against the San Jose Sharks during the second period of a first-round NHL hockey playoff game in Anaheim, Calif., Tuesday, April 21, 2009. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)

The Philadelphia Flyers have acquired defenseman Chris Pronger and forward Ryan Dingle from the Anaheim Ducks in exchange for Luca Sbisa, Joffrey Lupul, two first round picks and a conditional third round pick.

Pronger conference call
Holmgren talks about the trade

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Chris Pronger

Q: Was a trade possibility something you’d been hearing?
Chris Pronger: "It was.  From the deadline this year, now on into the summer and obviously here at the draft.  I wouldn’t say I’m surprised, but when you hear it once, you kind of brush it off, when you hear it twice you brush it off, but when you hear it persistently over and over again, you begin to think that it’s probably going to be a reality, and you’ve got to start planning and preparing yourself and your family that you’re probably going to be moving on."

Q: What are your feelings?
CP: "I'm very excited.  It’s obviously a city that’s very passionate for the sport of hockey.  The style of the play that the Flyers have been known to play certainly fits my game.  They’ve got some great young talent and I hope to help not only develop the team into being regarded as one of the top teams in the league, but winning a Stanley Cup.  I think that's why we all play the game, is to win, and certainly the Stanley Cup is the pinnacle for our sport."
Q: Do you feel like you’re the player that can push the team over the top?
CP: "I’d like to think so, but I don’t really know a whole lot about the team right now.  I’ve seen them play a few times in the playoffs, and I like what they have up front.  I think they’ve got a good core group of defensemen on the back end.  It’s funny, playoff hockey, it’s funny how chemistry and peaking at the right time and all these things, injuries, they all play a factor and all need to be working in your favor for you to be successful.  Sometimes it’s one team’s time and another time it’s not.  I’m hoping to be [unintelligible] like I was here in Anaheim."
Q: What do you think about Pittsburgh now and how would you deal with them playing for the Flyers?
CP: "I think with Pittsburgh, you need to have two solid groups of defensemen, especially on the road – one who can play against the Crosby line and one who can play against the Malkin line, and either one of those two pairs should be able to play against either line, so that you’re not constantly mixing and matching and doing all the things that teams try to do.  Similar to what we had [in Anaheim].  I think just having that luxury and [unintelligible] against the top two lines, you need to have that.  You can’t just have one shutdown set of defensemen that most teams have because many teams have two quality scoring lines."
Q: When do you think you’ll be moving to Philly?
CP: "That’s a good question.  I’m actually going to Mexico next week, and probably right after that try to figure out what we’re going to do with the kids for school, and all that kind of stuff.  I would expect that we’ll be heading out there at least to look around quickly upon our return from Mexico, and we’ll probably turn things around once we figure out where we’re going to live and what we’re going to do, and pack up shop and get out there."
Q: Have you talked with the Flyers about your future with team beyond the rest of your current contract (one year)?
CP: "I have not had any discussions. I just talked to Paul briefly right after the trade, and Peter Luukko, and I’m sure they’ll be getting in touch with my agent, Pat Morris, and we’ll probably go from there.  I’m sure they’ll probably talk at the draft or thereafter."
Anaheim Ducks right wing Bobby Ryan, left, and Anaheim Ducks defenseman Chris Pronger, right, collide into Detroit Red Wings right wing Marian Hossa in the first period of a second-round NHL hockey playoff game in Anaheim, Calif., Thursday, May 7, 2009. (AP Photo/Henry DiRocco)

Q: Did [agent Pat Morris] talk to you about the possibility of a trade with Philly when you were [traded from] Edmonton [to Anaheim]?
CP: "I do not believe so.  There were a number of teams but I do not believe Philly was one of them.  He would definitely know, that’d be a question for Pat."
Q: Tell us about Ryan Dingle.
CP: "He’s a little spark plug.  He’s a skilled guy, very fast, competitive guy.  He plays off the puck give and go, and he’s one of those guys who wants to score.  In training camp last year he had a great camp with us and opened a lot of eyes.  I think he got hurt right toward the end of camp and didn’t get as many preseason games as he would have liked."
Q: On being traded for Joffrey Lupul for a second time [Lupul went from Anaheim to Edmonton in the 2006 trade that sent Pronger to the Ducks from the Oilers].

CP: "It’s starting to get old. (laughs)  I was going to text [Dustin] Penner and tell him to tell his buddy Lupul that it was getting old getting trading for each other."

Paul Holmgren
Q: Background on how the trade came together (Canadian TV interview)?
Paul Holmgren: "It all goes back over the last few weeks, talking to [Anahiem GM] Bob [Murray] and it went back maybe a little longer than that, if he decided to move Chris, would we have interest.  Obviously we told him we would have interest, and it just went from there."
Q: What does this do for the defense?
PH: "Chris Pronger, in my opinion, is still one of the top defensemen in the league, and I think he makes everybody around him better on our defense.  It puts things in the proper pecking order.  First of all, he’s a winner.  He’s won a championship.  I know Chris from our days together in Hartford.  He’s a tremendous character player who works hard and cares.  Obviously he’s a great defender.  He’s one of those guys who brings a presence in all zones on the ice, and in terms of what he’s been through as a player in our league and his accomplishments, he’ll be a guy who’s looked highly upon by our younger players and a good role model for those guys."

Q: Have you been looking for a physical defenseman?
PH: "I made it sort of clear myself, would I like to get a hammer, a guy who makes life miserable for the other team…  this is one of those guys.  I think we’ve made some strides in terms of revamping our defense over the last few years.  You put Chris in our mix, and it makes our defense a good group of defensemen."
Q: Does this bring you closer to Pittsburgh?
PH: "Well, if you start worrying about one team, you get someone else chasing you.  I think in terms of where we’re at as a team right now, I think we’re better today than maybe we were yesterday.  That’s no disrespect for Joffrey Lupul – I think the world of Joffrey as a person and as a player.  And no disrespect to Luca Sbisa, I think he’s a tremendous young player who’s on the rise.  But the Flyers are a better team today."
Q: On the possibility of extending Pronger’s contract.
PH: "We haven’t had the opportunity to talk to Pat Morris, Chris’s agent.  I’ve talked to him a few times over the past few days … he represents a couple guys on our team and a couple guys we were looking at in this draft.  When we get back to Philadelphia, we’ll sit down and see where we’re at, and see what we can do.  He’s certainly a guy we’ve invested a lot in, and we realize we have our work to do to get him tied up for more than one year."
Q: Do you think you’ll now have any activity on the free agent front?
PH: "I wouldn’t rule it out.  We’re dealing with the draft obviously today and tomorrow, and sometimes you’re able to make deals at the draft like we did today.  When we get back, we have a couple days to kind of plan our strategy with a little bit different look to our team, and see where we’re at with the salary cap, and see what we need to do moving forward.  We have a couple holes now on our team obviously, and I do believe we have some young players in our system that deserve the opportunity to see what they can do in those spots.  But we’ll see.  We still have some time prior to free agency period to think about things."
Q: What about Ryan Dingle?
PH: "He’s a guy I know we like.  [Anaheim] had to trade a guy to get under 50 [NHL] contracts.  We had our choice of a couple different guys, and I like Ryan.  He’s a good young player, came out of Denver University.  Certainly he’s not a throw-in per se, because he’s a guy that we do have some time for."

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