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Pronger’s health represents other big question for Flyers’ D

Toronto Maple Leafs v Philadelphia Flyers

at Wells Fargo Center on October 24, 2011 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Bruce Bennett

This summer has been an eventful one for the Philadelphia Flyers’ defense - and the biggest story must still be settled by Nashville Predators’ GM David Poile. Still, whether the Shea Weber offer sheet gamble pays off or not, the Flyers’ blueline will look different. The biggest non-Weber blueline question is: will Chris Pronger patrol it next season?

Flyers GM Paul Holmgren acknowledged Pronger’s “struggles” and that he’s still experiencing headaches, yet Holmgren denied rumors that the hulking defenseman is on the verge of retirement. (If the 35+ rule carries over into the next CBA, the Flyers would eat his $4.92 million cap hit until the end of his contract even if he retires.)

Beyond Holmgren’s denials, there hasn’t been much optimism regarding a possible return for Pronger, who last played a game on Nov. 19, 2011.

Pronger played just under 26 minutes per game for the Flyers during his first (and by far most healthy) season with the team in 2009-10. Departed free agent Matt Carle was the team’s ice time leader last season, so if Pronger remains sidelined and Weber stays in Nashville, the top guys would likely be Braydon Coburn and Kimmo Timonen.


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